“The purpose of human life is to serve, show compassion, and help others.” – Ron Carpenter
Life Members have banded together in large and small communities around the world to make a difference by serving others for the Life on Life Initiative. This is a refreshing contrast compared to what the media tends to broadcast in the news. As a company, Life is driven to change the paradigm of negatives news stories by featuring positive stories of people doing good in society. Check out this inspiring Life on Life event that took place in Jefferson, Wisconsin – written by Life Member, Lisa Klein:
On August 13th, 2016, a group of 15 Life Members gathered together to serve a member of their community through a Life on Life initiative.
Here’s the back story: On December 20th, 2015, Lori Hughes was admitted to St. Mary’s Hospital for a condition called Guillain-Barré. On Saturday morning, December 19th, 2015, she and her family were getting ready for her father’s wedding when she started feeling numbness, tingling, and weakness in her arms and legs. She was able to attend her father’s wedding, but by the next morning, she was unable to walk without assistance and she knew something was wrong. Her husband, Tom, brought her to the emergency room in Fort Atkinson, WI and a few hours later she was transported to the medical intensive care unit at St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison, WI. A wide range of doctors with obscure specialties did several tests to determine that the cause of her weakness was due to a rare condition called Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS). GBS affects only 1 in 100,000 people. It is a disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks the nervous system leading to temporary paralysis and typically results in a very long recovery. Most people are able to fully recover, however, it can take many months of intense physical therapy to rebuild nerves and regain mobility and strength.
Lori is a passionate Math and Science teacher that goes above and beyond for her students and coworkers. She currently leads a leadership development program and champions a science Olympiad team at Nikolay Middle School in Cambridge, WI. Lori is married to her husband, Tom, and together they have a family of six grown children and one very young granddaughter. Lori has a love for animals, including their two dogs, Ginger and Grace, and their cat, Maui.
On December 20th, 2015 Lori experienced full body paralysis and was aided by machines to breathe and survive. Her only way to communicate was by blinking or moving her jaw slightly to say yes. As she fought for her life, her family surrounded her with love, support, and most importantly positivity! She believes that the positivity was the game changer in Lori’s recovery.
After 31 days in the ICU, Lori was finally strong enough to be off the blood pressure medication and able to move out of intensive care! She was moved to a specialty hospital in Madison, WI where she would be weaned off the ventilator and would start learning and gaining strength to move her arms and legs again with the help of physical and occupational therapies.
Lori continued to face and fight obstacles along her journey, however, on March 24th, 2016 Lori was able to completely breathe on her own and had her tracheotomy removed from her neck! Because of her ability to breathe on her own she was now able to be moved to the next step in recovery. She moved to a skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility where she would stay for the duration of her recovery until she would be ready to go home.
All along the journey, Lori’s family created “snail” mile markers to track each of her “I can” statement milestones she achieved. It helps to see how far she had come and to strive for what her next goal snail would be! She earned so many snails as she went through her recovery! In the spirit of keeping a positive atmosphere for recovery wherever she was staying, the family plastered every hospital room with nearly 50 pieces of artwork and would only allow happy people to come into the room! They would read silly books, pray and color pictures to add to the environment.
On August 8th, 2016 (only three days before her birthday) Lori was finally able to return home, and celebrate her birthday outside of the hospital! For the first time in nearly eight months, Lori would sleep in her own bed, walk through the halls of her own home, and eat her own home cooked food. Through intense therapy and rehab, she was now able to walk short distances with a walker and take care of basic daily living activities, such as bathing or taking medicine. Before Lori became sick, she was an active Member with Life and decided to organize a Life on Life initiative to help prepare her house for her transition home.
On August 13th, 2016, 15 Life Members traveled from as far as Minnesota to Tom and Lori’s home ready to serve. They prepared a list of needs ahead of time for the team to tackle in order help Lori get around their home safely and effectively. Their house was left uninhabited in December 2015, and a lot of work needed to be done. People arrived on Saturday morning with tools and construction materials, ready to get to work. They accomplished a multitude of tasks including:
- Built a 2-sided railing so Lori could get in and out of her house safely
- Installed a hand-held shower sprayer
- Connected a handicapped railing in the bathroom
- Cleaned the entire house from top to bottom
- Put Christmas decorations into storage
- Stacked wood into the storage shed
- Weeded gardens
- Trimmed trees
- Mowed the lawn
One Life Member donated food for the workers and when they wrapped up for the day, they enjoyed each others fellowship and some awesome BBQ! Lori shared her overwhelming feeling of love and appreciation for everything that came together that day.
“These things would have never gotten done without the Life on Life initiative and all the Life Members who served. There isn’t a word in the English language that can convey how thankful we are!” – Lori and Tom Hughes
Every person’s heart was so filled that day as we were able to serve someone we love.
Life is proud to have Members who care so much about helping others. Thank you to everyone who volunteered from UP Team Exodus Freedom, under the leadership of George and Jill Guzzardo. Your efforts truly helped the Hughes family get back on their feet and achieve a better quality of life.