When Juanita Fox of Venedocia was younger, her cousins called her “Mighty Mouse” because, even though she was small, she was a fighter.
Fox is still a fighter – battling multiple strokes and being in hospice care for a year after being given a prognosis of one-to-three weeks to live.
The Van Wert County resident is thankful for the support she’s received from a couple of United Way participating agencies – The Angel Foundation and CHP Hospice.
“There are wonderful, caring people at both of these agencies,” Fox said. “The nurses from [CHP] Hospice helped me when I was so weak I couldn’t even get up to stand. And, The Angel Foundation cared enough to try and help give me a wish when I was told I may not have long to live.”
Fox suffers from TIAs (transient ischemic attack) or “mini-strokes.” In 2013, she had stents placed in her brain and arteries. By 2019, her health deteriorated to the point that doctors told her she had just weeks to live and she started hospice care.
Dog show wish
In December of that year, Fox requested a wish to The Angel Foundation, a nonprofit organization affiliated with CHP that plans wishes for terminally-ill adults in Ohio.
“I wanted to attend the Westminster Dog Show in New York City,” Fox said. “I’ve always loved dogs and it’s been my dream to see dogs of this caliber. I’ve watched it on TV as far back as I can remember and I always wanted to see it live and in person.”
The Angel Foundation made plans for her to go to New York for the dog show in Feb. 2020. Unfortunately, Fox suffered another stroke in January and wasn’t strong enough to travel.
By early February, she rallied and regained her strength. As a plan B, The Angel Foundation made arrangements for her to attend the All American Columbus Pet Expo in March of 2020.
Covid cancels everything
However just days before the expo, the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic reached Ohio with the state’s first confirmed cases. The governor declared a state of emergency and the pet expo was canceled.
Finally with most of the country in lock down and plans for travel out of the question, Fox’s wish wound up being a “Charming Chihuahuas” lamp for her home.
Although it wasn’t her original wish, Fox appreciated the effort. For her, the lamp is a reminder that people care about her enough that they were willing to try all the options available.
No longer on hospice
Now a year later, Fox continues to have health issues but she is no longer on hospice services.
It all began to change one day when Fox says she had a vision.
“My mom and my two brothers – who had passed – appeared to me and told me, ‘God wasn’t ready for me yet,’” she said. “At that point I said, ‘no, I’m not going to die.’”
The next morning, she got out of bed and walked to the dining room in her home for the first time on her own. “Granted, it wasn’t very far to walk because my house is small,” Fox said. “But, it was a start.”
From that point, her health gradually improved. Home care aides from CHP come three times a week now to help her with personal care and tasks around her home. Otherwise, she lives independently.
“I still have blocked arteries and I still have TIAs – some are pretty scary,” she said. “I could die at any time, but I just take each day as it comes.”