Aida Castro’s Lighthouse of Hope story is about the bond between mother and daughter, memories of the past, and the importance of self-care. Aida has a background in cosmetology but has been unable to focus on her skill because of her illness.
Liz Manlin, a social worker at VNA Hospice of Philadelphia, applied for a Lighthouse of Hope grant requesting funds to cover a mother and daughter day at the spa.
In the application she expressed the need for this very special day: “A day at a local spa would lift their spirits, provide a much needed opportunity for mother-daughter bonding outside of the home and assist in providing a break from the daily demands of living with a terminal disease.”
In September of 2017, Aida and her daughter Christe spent a day at a spa in Philadelphia.
Liz sent the following letter after the visit.
Aida and her daughter Christe and I met at the salon in downtown Philadelphia. I usually see Aida at home, dressed pajamas or shorts and a tank top but today she was wearing black pants, a wrap shirt and pin, and gold shoes. She looked well put together for a day downtown! We took the elevator upstairs to the salon and got acquainted wiht the staff who would be styling Aida and Christe’s hair. Aida was very excited to be around the salon crew – she is an entertainer at heart and loves to make people laugh. She selected a bright red color for her hair and her stylist, Barbara, go to work!
When I returned later, Aida had a beautiful blown out red hair-do and her daughter Christe had blue highlights. Christe, who normally works the day away caring for her young children and her mom, looked relaxed and peaceful and was smiling the whole time. They were so pleased to be pampered and “beautified” and to have time together as mother and daughter to be themselves and focus on self-care.
By the end, Aida was exhausted both physically and emotionally but certainly buoyed by the opportunity to have a special day at a fancy salon with her beloved Christe.
Thank you again Lighthouse of Hope for making this possible!
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The NHF Lighthouse of Hope Fund offers children and adults with a life-limiting illness, such as cancer, heart failure, liver disease, end-stage renal disease and ALS the chance to take a break by allowing them to have their wishes and dreams come true. Such dreams, big or small, can help people with life-limiting illness improve the quality of their lives in ways medicine alone cannot. To learn more, please visit the NHF website for the Lighthouse of Hope Fund.
This story was originally shared in the Spring 2018 issue of NHF Giving Matters (PDF).