Hospice Dreams Fulfills Fishing Wish

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By WSIL Sports

MARION -- Thomas Norman has always loved fishing. And just like any other fisherman, he's got his share of stories. But as the years passed, it became harder and harder for the 71-year old to make it to the lake. That's why Friday's trip was so special.

"I haven't seen him this happy in a long time," Caitlin Summers said. "You could tell he really enjoyed it and it was his comfort zone."

Thomas' health has been declining recently. The Marion native spent years working at the Maytag plant in Herrin, now he lives in a nursing home just down the road from the old factory. Everyday he relies on Hospice nurses Megan Berkel and Caitlin Summers to care for his needs.

"You could tell he was a hard worker and just really has a lot of personality and is a fun-loving kind of guy," Summers said.

"We've sat around and talked about what kind of fish he likes, what kind of hunting he did," Berkel added.

Those conversations led Megan to Hospice Dreams, an organization that fulfills wishes for hospice patients before their time on earth comes to an end. Thomas' wish was to catch a fish, one last time.

"It's just their last wish and it means a lot to them that they get to do that one last thing," said Berkel.

Cold and rainy conditions made it tough on Thomas. But he was on a mission. Confined to a wheelchair, he relied on others to cast. But Thomas was determined to reel in the big one. After more than an hour of patiently waiting for a bite, Thomas' wish came true.

"Catching the fish was awesome," Caitlin said. "It made the day for him."

It wasn't the biggest fish Thomas has ever caught, it only weighed about a pound, but it will be the one he remembers most for the rest of his life.
Marion Regional
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