While usually we highlight the joy and delight of respite care, Crescent Cove also provides a sacred space for end-of-life care for families. Earlier this month we had the honor and privilege of supporting a young man, Dylan, who spent his final days surrounded by family, friends, and his childhood pets.
Dylan endured health challenges starting at age 3 with the removal of a malformed kidney. He went on to have a typical childhood, spending endless hours on his skateboard, climbing trees with his younger sister Evelyn, and playing video games with his buddies. At age 11 he was diagnosed with bladder cancer and underwent surgery and chemotherapy. His mother was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2019 — subsequent genetic testing discovered that both she and Dylan had DICER1 syndrome, a genetic disorder associated with an increased risk of developing tumors in the lungs, kidneys, thyroid, and other organs.
Sadly, Dylan’s mother passed away in 2021 from cancer, just months before Dylan graduated from high school. Dylan’s health issues endured, with cancer recurring in his remaining kidney. Eventually, it became clear that Dylan would not live much longer, and he made the decision to come to Crescent Cove for his final days.
His family was determined that Dylan would always have family by his side, 24 hours a day. His extended family could visit for long periods, and relatives took turns staying overnight in Crescent Cove’s family suite. Dylan asked to have a potluck at the Home for all sides of his family, some of whom live far from each other and don’t often have occasion to visit each other. Relatives showed up with hot dishes, taco fixings, special desserts, and all of Dylan’s favorite foods from his childhood. Crescent Cove staff made sure that a little bit of every dish was set aside for Dylan to taste later.
Dylan and his relatives gathered every day in the living room with a view of Twin Lake, swapping stories, telling jokes, and creating new memories together. His younger half-siblings could be found playing a game with relatives in the dining room or snacking on treats made by a volunteer. During this time, Crescent Cove nurses provided care to Dylan, ensuring that his needs were met and providing every comfort.
“Crescent Cove is a perfect spot to hang out, share memories, make new memories, and get good vibes going until the end,” Dylan told a staff member during his stay. “It leaves me speechless every time I see all my family members here. It’s just the best.”
Dylan was surprised and thrilled that his childhood dogs were allowed to come into Crescent Cove. He was also happy to visit with the therapy dogs and bunnies that come to the Home as well. “Mentally, it really raises the spirits, and that’s something they do a lot of here,” he said of Crescent Cove staff and volunteers.
“Everything that you have and love can surround you at Crescent Cove,” Dylan said of being at our Home.
Dylan passed peacefully on March 5 after two weeks of being surrounded by family, friends, and his dogs Brewster and Nellie. For Crescent Cove staff, it was truly an honor and privilege to host Dylan and family during his final days.