Hospice Huronia, Wheels 4 Wheels is making sure CherieAnne Young can see Rod Stewart, one of her favorite artists, in Toronto on Tuesday
Tammy Vaters fondly remembers the smile and twinkling eyes that graced CherieAnne Young’s face when they finally arrived in Toronto on the evening of July 26.
Leaving Hospice Huronia in the afternoon, Vaters, fellow palliative care nurse Karen Buttineau and Young’s friend Tabitha Lamoureux helped guide the 55-year-old Perkinsfield woman to safety. to the Budweiser stage to catch a performance by British superstar Rod Stewart, one of Young’s favorite artists.
Young, who has stage four colon cancer, arrived at Penetanguishene Institution two weeks ago.
“You get to know your patients when they arrive,” says Vaters in an interview with MidlandToday. “She’s an absolutely lovely woman and has a beautiful, loving family.”
And while COVID has canceled many events over the past two years, perhaps none have been felt as close to the heart as Young’s chance to see Stewart perform two years ago.
“She had two tickets and thought she couldn’t use the tickets,” Vaters said, noting that they only started working on the logistics of getting Young to the show over the weekend.
“I was working weekends and we talked about it. She asked if it was even possible.
But Vaters and Buttineau were determined to try to find a way to make it happen and notes that it took a real group effort to ensure Young could attend one last show and hear his favorite song, Maggie May.
Huronia Seniors’ Volunteer Care Team offered their Wheels 4 Wheels transportation service to help the youngsters get to the show and once there they were greatly assisted by Live Nation staff who notably drove through the backstage to their seats.
“There were a lot of things to bring him to this show,” Vaters says, noting that in addition to finding suitable transportation, they also had to make sure Young’s medical needs were taken care of.
“We brought all his supplies and medicine.”
Vaters says they checked in with Young regularly throughout the gig to see how she was doing.
“She didn’t want to leave,” she said. “We kept checking in and she had this strong will to stay until the end.”
The concert ended with the song Stay with mea hit from Stewart’s youth as a member of the Faces.
And for that particular moment, as the last chords of the song played and the crowd started to move, the foursome probably wished they could stay together a little longer and that the night didn’t have to end.
“We talk a lot about hope at hospice,” says Vaters, noting that they don’t sugarcoat end of life, but talk about the importance of living the best life possible with the time that’s left.
“That’s what the hospice is for; make sure we live to the end. We hope this gave CherieAnne a little more hope.
And although her movements were somewhat restricted during the show, Vaters says she could easily tell how happy Young was to be there on that particular night in late July.
“It was worth every moment,” says Vaters. “She was radiant. In her own way, she was dancing… it showed.
“She was dancing in her heart.