BBH’s Gift for Keeping Meaning Alive at End of Life Inspires Mom’s Enduring Support

Judy Mensch is forever grateful for the compassionate care her son David Harris received at Bailey-Boushay House -- that's why she still supports them, almost a decade later.

Born in Seattle, David moved with his family to Mendham, New Jersey, in sixth grade when Boeing transferred his dad. He was an accomplished chef whose love of food took him around the world. He set up kitchens, developed menus and trained staff at resorts and four-star restaurants in places like Fiji, Australia, and Kuala Lumpur. Eventually, he returned to Seattle and opened a no-frills sandwich shop called The Other Coast Cafe so he could serve East Coast sandwiches with a Northwest attitude.

Judy was shocked by the news that David collapsed in October 2012 while working as a chef at a friend’s cafe that he helped set up in West Seattle. helping a friend set up a cafe in West Seattle shocked Judy. An unseasonal blizzard in New Jersey stalled travel and five long days passed before she and her husband Mitch could get to him in the Harborview ICU.

By then doctors had determined that David, who was about to turn 46, had advanced small cell lung cancer. It had already traveled to his spine and liver. David chose not to pursue treatment when he learned that his cancer was too far along for him to participate in clinical research trials. His palliative care team recommended hospice at Bailey-Boushay House (BBH).

“I felt such relief as they described Bailey-Boushay,” remembers Judy. “They said it was lovely and well-maintained, and that the staff knew how to care for people, and their families, during the final chapter of people’s lives.”

The staff’s welcoming warmth and tender expertise made a lasting impression on Judy, who continues to make annual gifts to honor her son’s memory and to support BBH’s mission to care for people with complex illnesses at end of life.

“The gentle, direct way the staff at Bailey-Boushay dealt with the physical and emotional aspects that are part of dying deeply affected me,” says Judy. “We always felt welcome to visit. We never felt rushed or in the way. They even helped us navigate some of the mundane administrative issues that accompany death. Bailey-Boushay House didn’t just make David’s final days comfortable. They helped us make them meaningful.”

 

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