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All posts by Brooke Staggs

Heart Feature- “Manny”

No obstacle is too great for 9 year old Adam (‘Manny’) of North Texas! Encouraged by his family and his Angels of Care nurse, Manny is constantly working to achieve his fitness goals and show the world that labels do not define us. From CrossFit to Camp Xtreme, Manny is always looking for a new challenge!

When Jessie was 21 weeks pregnant with Manny, her doctor told her that he would be born with Caudal Regression Syndrome, a rare birth defect which affects the lower spine. She was encouraged to have an abortion performed, but instead she says that she depended on God to guide her because, at the time, everything seemed “scary and unknown”. After his birth, Manny spent a period of time in the NICU and then, when he was a year old, he underwent an emergency surgery in which he received a colostomy bag. Over time, Manny’s health improved and he is now a vibrant, active 9 year old. His mom and dad remind him daily that the world is his oyster and the only person that can limit him is himself. Their goal for him is that, upon graduating high school in the coming years, he will be able to be an independent young man capable of chasing any dream he has.

Manny’s interest in the world of extreme sports gave his Angels of Care nurse, Tabitha, the idea to start taking him to CrossFit with her. “[He] is amazing,” Tabitha, told us. “He’s not somebody different when he’s out in public versus when he’s at home. He’s genuine […], sincere, and very funny.” Angels of Care paired Tabitha with Manny back in May of this year and their connection was immediate. His family loves the friendship he and his nurse have developed and they are very proud of how motivated and inspiring he already is at such a young age. Over the course of the summer, Manny, Tabitha, Jessie, and younger brother, Jamon, began spending three hours a week at Revival Fitness in Trenton, Texas. According to Tabitha, the owner was a little nervous about Manny working out with the rest of the group, but by the end of his first class she wanted him to show the other kids how “it” was done! They started his workout slow just to ensure that he wouldn’t overdo it and get too sore. As the summer progressed, Manny worked on his core and arm strength through ring pull ups, push-ups, wheelchair sprints, sit ups, handstands, dumbbell swings, bench pressing, and more. Manny’s dad, Michael, even had the opportunity to work out alongside him one afternoon and see just how dedicated his son was in the gym. By the end of the summer session, Manny was bench pressing about 65 pounds! During our interview with Manny’s family, he even demonstrated a handstand for us and told us that he is “a beast at lifting bars”. For motivation, Tabitha hung one of her CrossFit gold medals on his wall, telling him that it was going to remain there until he earned one of his own.

Outside of his CrossFit training, Manny is just like any other kid—he loves going to summer camp! In fact, his favorite summer activity is going to Camp Xtreme in Houston, Texas. It is a 5 day wheelchair sports camp where kids have the opportunity to be independent from their families and partake in adaptive summer camp activities. Manny shared stories about how he went kayaking, swimming, scuba diving, fishing (he caught 5 fish!), horseback riding, skeet shooting, hand cycling, and he says that even attended a dance. The mission of this camp is to encourage kids that have physical disabilities or mobility impairments to become independent, self-aware, and confident through team-building activities. Throughout the week, camp counselors took photos and videos of Manny competing in events and having fun with his friends, then shared them with his family. Manny met his two best friends at this camp and he loved being able to show off his skills in all of the different physical activities. He even told us that he’d enjoy being a counselor there one day!

Between his support system at home and his own determination, Manny is unstoppable. This awesome kid is always looking for new ways to have fun and meet new people. A fundamental moment in his life was during the first year of Wheelchair Bodybuilding, Inc. when Manny and his family had the opportunity to meet founder Nick Scott. While they were there, Manny and his family were treated like VIPs and had time to meet and chat with the incredible role models that make up the team. His favorite Wheelchair Bodybuilder was Harold ‘King Kong’ Kelley, the very first Mr. Olympia Wheelchair Champion. After meeting him, Manny gave his strength a true test when he arm wrestled ‘King Kong’ who has since become a dear friend to Manny’s family. Later on, Manny actually got to go onto the stage and present ‘King Kong’ with his first place trophy. His mom says that he then proceeded to perform a walking handstand in front of the body builders and the crowd, showcasing his own strength. Kidnetic Games provided another opportunity for Manny to meet some incredible people, such as Aaron ‘Wheelz’ Fotheringham, an extreme wheelchair athlete who performs adaptive BMX and skateboarding stunts. Manny met ‘Wheelz’ at the Kidnetic Games this year where Manny placed first in archery and received his first gold medal. These inspirational adults have been sharing their journey with people around the world for years and Manny is striving to one day do the same.

As Manny grows older, he is trying to figure out who he is as an individual. His parents constantly remind him that he is inspiring, to be thankful for what he has, and that God made him who he is for a reason. Jessie is so proud of her son and told us, “[Manny] leaves an impact on people everywhere he goes […] and I’ve never known anyone that does that.” His story is just beginning it is will be so exciting to see what he will accomplish next. Everyone at Angels of Care Pediatric Home Health loves each and every family that chooses to trust us to fulfill their child’s home health needs. Each child has their own story and their own gifts that make them unique and we can’t wait to share more of our families’ stories!

To learn more about Manny’s journey, please visit:

Facebook.com/mannysmission

Instagram: @mannyb2010

 


Congratulations, Kristen Robison, RN!

Advocating for the medically fragile community is a key value at Angels of Care. We strive not only to provide exceptional home health services to our pediatric patients, but to also fight for the rights of this amazing community. Kristen Robison, RN, is the VP of Governmental Affairs at Angels of Care Pediatric Home Health. For more than a decade, she has been involved with the Texas Association for Home Care & Hospice (TAHCH), an organization which advocates for ethical practices, quality, and economic viability of licensed providers in Texas. Based out of Austin, TX, TAHCH is a statewide association that represents over 1200 home health and hospice agencies. Kristen has served in many different tiers of this association and has recently received a new title.

Since becoming involved in TAHCH, Kristen has advocated for home health agencies in multiple settings at both state and federal levels. Her roles have included Chair of the Pediatric Committee, a member of the TAHCH Board of Directors in the Pediatric Auspice, and, as of this August, she is now the President-Elect. She will hold this position until next year when she becomes President. After that, she will take on the position of Immediate Past President for a year, resulting in a four-year term. In addition to her numerous roles at TAHCH, Kristen has also been honored for her commitment to advocacy in home health and hospice community as 2017 and 2018 Chairperson of the Year.

In the ever changing world of health care, it is important to have dedicated individuals to actively represent the medically fragile community. Angels of Care is passionate about advocacy not only for the home health community in its entirety, but for each individual patient we provide services for. Thank you, Kristen, for being a voice for this community and for your dedication to such an important cause. To learn more about the current issues TAHCH is addressing and how you can help advocate for home health care and hospice, visit www.tahch.org.

Gage’s Pages — “Boxed for Success”

With the 2019-2020 school year about to commence, families are hustling to gather school supplies and prepare for the first day of school. However, children need a lot more than just school supplies to succeed. In order to do their best in school, they also need to feel their best. This is why Gage’s Pages has organized their 7th Annual Gage’s Pages School Supply Drive featuring their new program “Boxed for Success”. Members of the community are encouraged to “adopt a box” to fill with supplies students need to kick start their school year with success. Gage’s Pages was formed after a sweet young boy passed away in 2012. Inspired by Gage’s amazing life, his family began collecting book donations to benefit Denison ISD as a way to honor his memory and support the education of local children.

Angels of Care not only advocates for medically fragile children, but additionally loves to support the health and education of the local youth. Recruiting Manager, Eric McInnis, discovered this amazing opportunity and the entire Sherman recruiting department rallied together to fill their very first box! The team collected spirals, pencils, art supplies, socks, underwear, tooth brushes, and more which will be donated to Denison High School. Fulfilling the “Boxed for Success” wish list was an incredibly rewarding experience and Angels of Care looks forward to contributing in the future as well as helping to spread the word about Gage’s Pages.

To learn more about how you can contribute to the education of Denison ISD students, please visit:

www.gagespages.net

AUGUST 2019’S FIELD EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH — ALEXANDRA WELLER!

Congratulations to August’s Field Employee of the Month, Alexandra Weller! Alexandra is an RN for our Dallas branch and has been a member of the Angels of Care family since fall of 2018. Alexandra says that her favorite thing about working at Angels of Care is being involved in all aspects of her patient’s care. Seeing her patient reach certain milestones makes everything she does as a nurse that much more rewarding. She openly expressed how thankful she is for the family she is currently working with because of their kindness and patience.

When she’s not spending time with her medically fragile patient, Alexandra is getting outdoors and finding adventure! She loves hanging out with her friends, running, hiking, reading, trying new restaurants, and of course, partaking in the occasional Netflix binge. For a more exciting outdoor experience, Alexandra enjoys visiting national parks across the country. Zion National Park and Mesa Verde National Park are her two favorites! However, next year she plans to explore new lands when she travels abroad to Scotland and Ireland! She’s even think Iceland could be next on her travel list!

Back at home, she sticks to her roots and considers her parents and little sister the most important people in her life as they constantly inspire her to be the best version of herself. Additionally, her friends are a huge part of her life as they are constantly encouraging and helping each other, especially when they need it the most. When she’s not spending time with her loved ones, you can bet Alexandra will be watching documentaries, reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed, listening to Bill Nye’s podcast “Science Rules!”, dusting her impressive vinyl record collection, or playing with her awesome pups Poe, Pepe, and Snowball.

Thank you so much for all you do as an Angels of Care nurse, Alexandra! The amount of care and dedication you offer your patient makes us proud to call you an AOC Nurse.

Employee Appreciation Day 2019 – Colorado

Our main goal at Angels of Care is to spread our HALOS values with as many families as possible. Just like Bonnie West, everyone at AOC is passionate about creating a safe, trustworthy home health resource for medically fragile children and young adults. So, in 2017, we finally checked off another item off of the AOC bucket list by opening up a branch in Denver, Colorado! We are thrilled to be serving Colorado and the past two years have been a wonderful, rewarding adventure. However, this growth would not have been possible without the Denver branch’s dedicated team. To show our thanks, Angels of Care – Denver had its first official Employee Appreciation Day!

The Pueblo Zoo was the perfect place to host the first annual Employee Appreciation Day for our Colorado family. Wide, open spaces provided plenty of room for children with wheelchairs to explore and not be inhibited. There was plenty of shaded space for chatting, exploring, and for the patients’ families to meet and connect with members of the Denver branch. In addition to seeing familiar faces and making new friends, the employees and patients were accompanied by some beautiful male peacocks!

Although we were celebrating in Colorado, the Texas heat decided to show up for the party. Luckily, the Pueblo Zoo provided plenty of shade via pavilion and mature trees to keep the overzealous sunshine at bay! The calls of the zoo animals drifted over to the celebration as everyone excitedly chatted and got to know each other. Because Colorado is so much smaller than Texas it was great to see how tight knit the AOC family there is. Texas team members Ashlyn, Justin, and Ashley were welcome guests and it was the perfect opportunity for them to connect with the Denver branch.

We had a special surprise when we were able to experience one of the AOC angels, John Michael, exhibit his awesome animal knowledge as an employee of the Pueblo Zoo! He has come a long way since beginning services with Angels of Care and now has the opportunity to provide presentations to zoo guests on various animals and their habitats! It was inspiring to see John Michael’s passion come to life as he introduced Leadership to some of his unique animal friends.

To cap off the day, a picnic style lunch was served complete with crispy, delicious fried chicken. Some members of the Colorado Leadership Team decided to show off some of their service skills by serving the employees their lunch just before the special prize giveaways started. Amidst the fun, several Colorado Leadership team members had opportunities to speak to all of the Employee Appreciation Day attendees. They introduced the office staff to all of the field employees before showing their appreciation for the Angels of Care family. Leadership wanted to express their gratitude to field and office staff alike for all that they do on a daily basis to bring Bonnie West’s vision to fruition in the beautiful state of Colorado. Their positive representation of Angels of Care in the community has begun to spread the HALOS culture across the state of Colorado and will continue to do so in the future. This was the first of many Employee Appreciation Days to come and Angels of Care is so delighted to have this one-of-a-kind team to forge the way as we continue to grow and touch families across the state of Colorado.

Do you want to become a part of the Angels of Care family in either Texas or Colorado? We would love to have you!

Contact us at careers@angelsofcare.com | 903-532-1400

August 2019’s Office Employee of the Month — Juanita Griggs!

When a patient’s Spanish speaking family initially calls Angels of Care to seek home health for their child, there’s a good chance they’re going to speak with Juanita Griggs, our Bilingual Intake Coordinator. Juanita is a ray of sunshine and has an unparalleled dedication to her clients, patients, colleagues, and to Angels of Care. After being with us for 3 years (this coming October) Juanita knows all of the ins and outs of the intake department and is an asset to AOC. She says that the best thing about working at AOC is “the feeling that we have made a difference in a family’s life” and we have no doubt that Juanita does that on a daily basis.

In addition to being an outstanding employee, Juanita is a wonderful individual who is passionate about her husband and children. She describes her husband, Lonnie, as her “rock” and her children as her “life”. In fact, she loves her family so much that when asked if would ever want to trade places with someone in history her response was, “I wouldn’t trade places with anybody because that would mean I wouldn’t have my family!” She says that her kids inspire her to do her best every day and keeping them smiling and laughing makes all her hard work worth it. #bestmomever

While she may not want to take a little vacation from life to trade places with any celebrities, she has no objections to getting away on a vacation every once in a while!  Her favorite place to visit so far has been her honeymoon spot, Cozumel. She loved the beach, the sand, and of course, the margaritas! In the future, she would love to travel to Egypt. She is fascinated by its history and culture, wants to visit the pyramids, and maybe even find a little adventure while she’s there! When she’s not day dreaming about jet-setting, she loves doing handy chores around the house, although she is self-admittedly not very good at it (ha!), binge-watching Little Women of LA, and coloring in coloring books.

Juanita, thank you so much for all that you do at Angels of Care. You have shown your love for AOC for 3 years and we hope that you see how much you’re appreciated here!  Congratulations on being Angels of Care’s August 2019 Office Employee of the Month!!

To learn more about our pediatric home health services, contact us today! 855-45-ANGEL

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