Wish of a Lifetime and Brookdale Senior Living to Grant Beach Trip Wish
Woody Parker may be losing his eyesight but never his vision for romance.
“One of the reasons I wanted to take this trip is I want to go back while I can still see with some decent vision," explains the 82 year old Brookdale resident. “It's almost gone now. ”
This Friday, Woody and Genie - his bride of 62 years – will arrive by limo to Fernandina Beach, Florida. The two will enjoy a romantic meal at their favorite restaurant and stroll hand in hand along the beach in sand-friendly wheelchairs.
“After we first got married, we started driving to the small beach towns outside of Jacksonville,” said Woody. “When we went to Fernandina Beach, we just fell in love with it.”
For decades, Woody and Genie made countless trips to Fernandina Beach. However, Woody’s recent health issues and rapidly declining eyesight due to glaucoma have kept the couple from returning to their favorite getaway for the past two years.
Judy Malcolm, resident programs director at Brookdale Atrium Way, saw these difficulties and she was inspired to get the couple back to the place where they have so many memories.
“I’ve heard how fondly and often they spoke about these trips,” said Judy. “As we began signing Woody up for assistance so he can adjust to being blind, I knew I had to do something.”
That is when Judy contacted Brookdale’s national partner, Wish of a Lifetime, a non-profit dedicated to shifting the way society views and values the oldest generations by fulfilling seniors’ wishes. Together, the two organizations have arranged for Woody and Genie to travel by limo to their favorite restaurant in Fernandina Beach for an evening together on Friday, March 16.
When Judy found out that the wish was selected to be granted, she called Woody into her office to deliver the news.
“At first we were going to make it a total surprise to Genie but I knew he couldn't keep his mouth closed,” Judy says playfully to Woody.
Judy says this experience is extra special because Woody and his wife live in different areas of the community based on their care level needs. Although they see each other daily, the last year has been quite an adjustment for the two lovebirds.
With Woody rapidly losing his sight, this literally could be the last time he sees the beach.