By Kayleen Petrovia Marysville Journal-Tribune
Jenn Dickerson was determined to do everything she could for her brother, Craig Nicol, while he battled cancer.
She searched online for organizations that grant wishes for adults with terminal illnesses and was “totally surprised” to find The Angel Foundation. The Van Wert, Ohio-based non-profit affiliated with CHP Hospice, arranges wishes for adults throughout the state with a life-expectancy of a year or less.
One last family vacation
As soon as Dickerson learned of the organization, she said she had just one question for her brother: “What do you want to do?” She said her brother immediately knew he wanted to take “one last family vacation” together.
Thanks to The Angel Foundation, Nicol, his three children, his grandson, his parents, his siblings and their spouses and children will travel to Marco Island, Florida this summer.
Nicol was diagnosed in 2019 with stage-three lung cancer. Though a non-smoker, his cancer has since metastasized and progressed to stage four.
Police officer for 25 years
Prior to his diagnosis, Nicol served as an officer with the Marysville, Oh. Police Department for 25 years.
Dickerson said she knows her brother touched many lives while serving. She has even been approached while working as an emergency room nurse and thanked by family members of those he helped.
“He truly cared about people” he encountered during his time as an officer, she said. Dickerson said Nicol has carried the same selfless attitude throughout his treatment.
“He’s never felt sorry for himself,” she said. “I mean, I don’t know that I would be able to react the way he did.”
Deb Buechner, of The Angel Foundation, said the organization’s purpose is to give people like Nicol time to focus on themselves and “give them closure.”
“We get to take that person who is battling day in and day out… and see them smiling and enjoying life,” she said.
Buechner said the wishes cannot be material things or surprises, but should be “something meaningful to that person.”
Dickerson said her brother’s wish is a perfect example.
A chance to relive memories and create new ones
Their family spent many spring break trips in Marco Island when they were younger, she said. Once they had children of their own, they continued to vacation there but have not been able to travel to the area in several years.
Dickerson said some of her and her brother’s favorite memories are of watching the sunset on the beach, surrounded by their families.
Buechner said The Angel Foundation wanted to ensure Nicol and his family could relive those memories and create new ones.
The organization is providing a rental house and assisting with a rental car, gas and food for the family while in Florida.
Dickerson said she is especially excited that The Angel Foundation is providing a professional photographer to take portraits of her family on the beach at sunset.
She said they also hope to search for seashells and watch dolphins together.
Ultimately, though, Dickerson said the most important part is the opportunity to “all come together.”
“Whatever we think of when we’re there, we’re going to do,” she said.
Help make wishes come true
No matter what an individual’s wish entails, Buechner said they are granted entirely through the generosity of others.
She noted that every wish is funded by donations and 100% of donations to The Angel Foundation go toward client’s wishes. All staff and administrative costs are covered through funding from the United Way, Buechner explained.
She said “people always want to help” make another person’s final dream come true. “When you can make it happen, that’s the best feeling in the world,” Buechner said.
Click here to make a tax-deductible donation to The Angel Foundation to support this wish, or future wishes.