Making Memories Every Day

Mar 21, 2018

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 Buckner of 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.”

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