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Cancer patient awarded dream of Disney World trip

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Photo submitted Grand Mesa Oncology & Infusion Center physicians and staff congratulate Jimmy Retherford on his Dream Foundation trip to Disney World. Pictured are (front row, left to right) Helen Goldberg, M.D., Jimmy Retherford, Teri Retherford, Daniell

Jimmy Retherford's life was turned upside down when he was diagnosed with stage four cancer in November 2016. Prior to his diagnosis, Jimmy could be found on the golf course fulfilling his love for the game. Retherford not only plays golf, he works at the Devil's Thumb Golf Club. He loves working the course and keeps it looking beautiful year round.

When Jimmy came in for his nurse navigation consult with Danielle Gallegos she asked him to list his goals. He replied, "I want to get back to work, and I want to be able to enjoy spending time with my family." These tasks seem simple for people in relatively good health, but the task is complicated for cancer patients receiving chemotherapy and battling a deadly disease.

Since his treatment began in November, he has been through multiple rounds of chemotherapy directed by his oncologist, Dr. Helen Goldberg, M.D. With the help of his team of health care providers, he has been able to manage his side effects and the chemotherapy has slowed the growth of his disease. This is great news, but his disease is not curable and the response is not forever.

Since Jimmy was diagnosed with cancer, Gallegos has been following his case. The nurse navigator role is new to Grand Mesa Oncology. Jason Cleckler, CEO and Jody Roeber, CCO approved the position in October 2016. Gallegos began working as the oncology nurse navigator in November, and Jimmy was her first patient. She instantly fell in love with the role.

Gallegos commented, "Every patient is a blessing to me. It's not IF I can help, but how I can help. I was determined to find a way to make a difference in Jimmy's life. One day after reviewing his chart, I suddenly remembered being told about the Dream Foundation. This foundation helps terminally ill patients fulfill their last wish. I then began the process to nominate Jimmy for the Dream Foundation."

A few weeks went by before the Dream Foundation contacted Gallegos to ask for more information. Jimmy was contacted by the Dream Foundation a few weeks later, letting him know his dream has been approved. Jimmy and his wife Teri will be flown to Disney World. "I remember going to Disneyland when I was a kid, and I want to feel that same emotion before I leave this earth," Jimmy stated.

It is a bittersweet moment for Jimmy, his wife Teri, and the entire staff at Grand Mesa Oncology. The ultimate dream would be to cure every patient, but until this dream becomes a reality, they gladly accept fulfilling patients' last dreams.

Grand Mesa Oncology and Infusion Center is owned and operated by Delta County Memorial Hospital. Danielle Gallegos is a registered nurse and oncology certified nurse and has worked for Grand Mesa Oncology for eight years.

Dream Foundation's Dreams touch lives, meet essential needs and provide inspiration, comfort and closure at the end of life.Over the past two decades, the Dream Foundation's Dreams have provided psychosocial and emotional support tailored to thousands of terminally-ill adults and their families. The Dream Foundation plays a critical role in the special end-of-life care that focuses on improving quality of life for patients and their families. With the support of a nationwide network of volunteers, hospices, health care organizations and committed donors, Dream Foundation has given life to more than 25,000 Dreams over the past two decades and has never turned down a qualified applicant. Dreams are brought to you in part by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. Dream Foundation has office locations on the East and West coasts.

Photo submitted Jimmy Retherford, recipient of the Dream Foundation trip to Disney World, with Danielle Gallegos, Grand Mesa Oncology nurse navigator, BSN, OCN.
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