‘Angels’ Send Messages of Caring, Hope

Suzy Hopkins
By Suzy Hopkins June 15, 2009 10:51

Geneva Keever, 72, and her granddaughter, Brie, 14, share an unusual hobby: They’re Angels.

It started nine years ago when Keever stumbled on a website set up by Utah resident Susan Farr Fahncke, whose sister, Angel, was dying of a brain tumor in her 20s after surviving childhood leukemia. Fahncke asked for messages of support for Angel, so Keever mailed off a little box of token gifts, and cards in envelopes marked with titles like “Just Because” and “If You’re Feeling Down.”

Angel opened the box after returning from a grueling 3 ½-hour medical treatment, and called to tell her sister about the package, crying hard from a stranger’s unexpected kindness.

She died not long after, at age 28. Fahncke, who now lives in Kansas, maintains the website “2TheHeart.com” to match volunteer “Angels” with those dealing with life-threatening illness, and to share inspirational stories.

Keever is also a “Chemo Angel” through the website “ChemoAngel.com,” which links caring individuals with cancer patients who, while undergoing chemotherapy, receive cards or little gifts of support on a regular basis. The same site sponsors “Senior Angels,” to provide support to isolated seniors who are homebound or in a nursing home or convalescent hospital.”

“I think people really appreciate it,” says Keever, who also volunteers twice a week at the Senior Center on Greenley Road in Sonora. “And it gives me something to do that makes a difference in someone’s life.”

Many of the recipients have life-threatening illnesses, and the simple act of writing a card or letter “just helps boost their spirits during a difficult time,” Keever says. She shares her hobby with Brie, a Summerville High School sophomore whose artwork graces some of the cards they send – not “Get Well” cards, Keever emphasizes, but messages of support. They send about 10 cards, letters or small packages a week, more during the holidays.

The internet sites they work through match participants with seriously ill patients nationwide, and in the case of “Chemo Angels,” in other countries. Keever would like to see a similar effort locally for cancer patients and seniors in Tuolumne and surrounding counties.

© 2009, Friends and Neighbors Magazine

Suzy Hopkins
By Suzy Hopkins June 15, 2009 10:51
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