By Madeleine Baudoin Ghorashi
Sharp HospiceCare patient Maria O’Neal enjoyed a day at the beach with her son, Tony, courtesy of American Medical Response’s (AMR) Sentimental Journey program. The program fulfills terminally ill patients’ last wishes with day trips chosen by the patient, and the cost is underwritten by AMR.
When AMR asked Maria where she wanted to go, a day at La Jolla Shores beach was what she wanted to do.
“My mother loves La Jolla Shores. We would come here a lot when I was a kid. I remember one time, it was a gray day like today, I got the worst sunburn,” chuckled Maria’s son, Tony. “Who knew you could get a burn with all of those clouds out in the sky?”
Mary McAdams, senior account executive for AMR San Diego, helped facilitate the event and said that patients do not typically ask for anything extravagant on their Sentimental Journey. They ask for simple outings– like a trip to the beach or a special place they can no longer access on their own.
Maria, 99, enjoyed her day out with her son. She sat on the beach, staring at the waves with a big smile on her face the entire time. She chatted with AMR EMTs Rocky and Marisa as she pointed at the surfers enthusiastically.
“She is excited about the surfers because one of her great grandsons comes here to surf in the mornings,” said Tony.
The experience was a very special gift to a woman who was longing to go to the beach that her family has been visiting for more than seven decades.