Lifelong caregiver finds care, gives back
“Caregiver” doesn’t even begin to describe current Kathy’s House guest, Teri Lepak. One of ten siblings, Teri helped her mother raise and feed her family. Later on, Teri ran a day care for 26 years, cared for her aging parents and in-laws, and became a cook in an assisted living facility. So caring for her husband of 46 years during his cancer treatment is second nature for Teri.
Teri’s husband Gary, needed a stem-cell transplant not available in their home town of Plover, Wis. Knowing they could come to Milwaukee for three months, get the high-level of care he desperately needed with Teri right next door was a blessing. Recently released from the hospital, Gary is staying at Kathy’s House, with his wife Teri at his side every day.
“I’ve learned what I can accept and what I can’t in life. I am in daily contact with my family, which helps a lot, and everyone is so kind here. Plus, Gary and I have our strong faith. You learn you have to accept what you are going though in life and keep moving. I call it a journey. I’m not ready to give up and Gary isn’t either. Every day is a gift.”
Being able to help others makes a big difference to Teri. She cooked a chili dinner with all the fixin’s for Kathy’s House guests recently. Talking, listening, cooking and being present for others … it’s in her nature.