Whether it was in his grandparents’ pond, Gunner’s Lake in
Montgomery County or the shallow surf around Assateague and Chincoteague
Islands, 31-year-old Stephen Travels could never get enough fishing.
“No matter what was going on in my life, I could go to the river
and feel better,” said Stephen. “Being one with nature, taking
in the peace and quiet…there’s just nothing else like it.”
After Stephen became ill, it was no big surprise to his family that he
turned to fishing when he needed a break from his draining treatment regimen.
Eventually, his strength ebbed significantly and his prognosis declined.
When he opted for palliative care earlier this year and enrolled with
Hospice of Frederick County, everyone thought Stephen’s fishing
days were behind him.
But everyone was wrong.
During one of her frequent conversations with Stephen, Hospice Social Worker
Jodi Gerber learned of his passion for fishing. As much joy as Stephen
had derived from his favorite pastime over the years, she learned that
he had one big regret: he had never realized his lifelong dream of going
charter boat fishing on the Chesapeake Bay.
In cooperation with the Dream Foundation, Jodi started making plans. Several
weeks later, on a sunny morning in early May, Stephen and his best friend
from childhood set off on the fishing trip of a lifetime. Captain Greg
Miss Susie’s Charters took the pair out for a day of Game Fishing on a custom 46’ boat.
That day, Stephen recalls feeling healthier, happier and more alive than
he had in a long time.
“Thanks to Hospice, for that one day,” said Stephen’s
mother, Leigh Ann Lotridge, “ Stephen didn’t feel like a patient,”
she said. “He was not defined by his illness. He and his best friend
were just two young men, enjoying an afternoon of doing something wonderful
and completely normal. He enjoyed that day more than words can say.”
“At Hospice of Frederick County, we provide individualized care that
supports where people are in their healthcare journeys, and is also tailored
to who they are as individuals,” says Hospice Social Worker Jodi
Gerber. And that kind of care is all about hope. It’s about considering
who our patients are, honoring who they’ve become and preserving
the memories they’ll leave behind.
“Our care says: “It’s time to embrace life. It’s
time to live more fully in comfort and in control. It’s time to
focus on living.”