Bailey-Boushay House (BBH) became a home and a haven for Marie Dunn and her husband Michael, who had Huntington’s disease. For three years, he was surrounded by the Bailey-Boushay team that truly cared about him. “I love it here, everyone is so kind and they feed me well — the food is great!” he said. Michael passed away in 2013, but Marie remains part of the Bailey-Boushay community and continues to support its programs.
In fond memory of a special BBH dinner the Dunn family enjoyed, Marie held a luau as a fundraiser. “I am grateful for the time, and the home, Bailey-Boushay gave us and for the quality of care they provided,” says Marie. “I wanted to raise funds to support programs providing this same compassionate and customized care to families like ours.”
Fun and Festive Event
More than 50 family members and friends gathered at the Puget Sound Yacht Club to enjoy the festive and fun luau. The menu included pulled pork, tropical fruit, Hawaiian macaroni salad and hula pie. Marie also offered a silent auction with a variety of items from Mariners tickets to private airplane rides. “I was so thrilled with everyone donating and supporting Bailey-Boushay,” says Marie enthusiastically. “It felt wonderful to give more than $12,000 to help other people and families.”
Michael was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease in 1997. “Over the next 13 years this devastating, degenerative and neurological disease would gradually affect Michael’s movement, expressions and speech,” says Marie. “The loss of his ability to communicate his needs or control his movements transformed this once witty, articulate, social and outgoing man to a fearful and combative patient whose world consisted of watching TV in the family room. It broke my heart.”
“When Michael was diagnosed, I was warned that very few nursing facilities would even take Huntington’s disease patients,” notes Marie. “And, true to these warnings, Michael spent time in three separate facilities, which were unequipped to care for him and provide for his very unique needs. But Michael ultimately found his new home in Bailey-Boushay House. The staff there accepted Michael with no hesitation, telling us, ‘This is his home for as long as he wants to stay here.’ For the first time in years, I felt the burden lift – I wasn’t alone. I was surrounded by people who genuinely cared about Michael, who wanted to know Michael the person – not Michael the disease. That was the turning point and a recovery of some sense of normalcy, a chance to be husband and wife again, and not caregiver and patient.
“The three years Michael was there, I got to know the staff and patients,” says Marie. “I feel so very grateful for the life they gave to me and Michael by taking care of him 24/7. It was an incredible journey rich with unexpected blessings.”