Out of the tragedy of losing her 43-year-old mother to lymphoma more than two years ago, 20-year-old Hannah Gabrysch wants to make a career of helping others. Hannah has been honored by Home Instead Senior Care® of Victoria while taking another step toward her ultimate goal of being a nurse practitioner. She is the CAREGiver of the Month for June for owner Stephanie Niles’ franchise. Hannah diligently served as a family caregiver for Melissa “Missy” Lynn Gabrysch for more than two years before losing her April 3, 2014, 64 days prior to Hannah’s graduation from Industrial High School in Vanderbilt. To help her mother, Hannah took a training course from the University of Texas’ MD Anderson Cancer Center to learn how to assist with certain daily medical activities and procedures, including IV administration involving her mother’s PICC line. “I was eager to help in any way I could. Mom was my role model and imprinted on me. She really cared for people. My friends say: ‘You are becoming your mom!’ They say on I am spot-on as her spitting image. Some of my family even calls me by her name, ‘Missy,’ ” Hannah said. “Once I started helping Mom,” Hannah added, “I decided being a nurse is what I wanted to do. I have the know-how of taking care of clients because of my experiences with Mom. And because of my experiences helping Mom, I can empathize with my clients’ family members.” Missy Gabrysch was a high school biology and science teacher, and one of her freshman students was her daughter. Hannah aims to learn more, a process that is expected to take her from Victoria College to the University of Houston-Victoria. “Registered Nurse,” “Bachelor of Science in Nursing” and “Master’s Degree” are three of her academic targets. She believes experience as a CAREGiver will help her get there. Recalling the weeks before joining Home Instead Senior Care in February, Hannah said: “I was searching on the internet for a job that would correlate with my goal of getting a nursing degree, and I found Home Instead Senior Care and also saw them on Facebook. I don’t think of this as a job. I absolutely love it because it is amazing. The office is understanding and works around my availability; our scheduler is good. They answer all my questions. When I am meeting a new client for the first time, they provide really good backgrounding so that I am not going in cold. I am thankful for all of the office staff and appreciate them. Their training is good. Some of the aging process material, especially the material on dementia, was new and enlightening. I will be trying to stay with Home Instead Senior Care for as long as I can.” Being a CAREGiver, Hannah said, has made a difference in her life. “It has changed me and has broadened my horizons. I think about the world differently. I know I am more patient and caring,” Hannah pointed out. “I want to lighten the load not only for my clients but their families, too. My job has helped me realize families need a break from their caregiving. It takes a toll on them. My assistance allows them to get out, buy groceries, go on dates, and so on.”And being a CAREGiver has unexpected perks. Hannah and an 87-year-old client both have fishing licenses, and they put them to use one day at the client’s insistence. As a result, Hannah reeled in a 19-inch speckled seatrout near the client’s home at Port O’Connor on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. “When I walked in the door, he said, ‘You won’t be cooking today. Let’s go out to the pier, and I will teach you how to catch a big fish,’ ” Hannah recalled. “Truthfully, he hooked a fish and had me bring it in. I had never caught one that big; it was four inches over the minimum size limit. We fished for maybe two hours. The next week, we had a fish fry because he had fileted it and prepared. It was awesome and amazing. He wants to go back and fish again with me. I do not have a picture, but it was definitely a Kodak moment.” The CAREGiver experiences, nursing-preparatory classwork and her motivation add up to a winning combination for Hannah. “I am 20, and I know what I want to do. I am lucky because I think I have figured that out. I am glad Home Instead Senior Care is part of it,” she said.
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