Hospice group, community band together for York

BY KENLEA HENSON
Former Reporter
05/17/2018 01:15 PM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Cherokee Nation citizen Grant York, 9, takes the official Tahlequah Police Department oath with TPD Chief Nate King on May 11 during a sendoff ceremony before York leaves for the “Dolly Parton’s Stampede” in Branson, Missouri. Going to the “Dolly Parton’s Stampede” was York’s Butterfly Wish made possible through Physicians Choice Hospice. KENLEA HENSON/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
TAHLEQUAH – Family, friends and community members gathered on May 11 at the Cherokee Casino Tahlequah grounds for a surprise ceremony for 9-year-old Cherokee Nation citizen Grant York.

York suffers from several health conditions, including mitochondrial mutation. His mother, Kasie Mendenhall, said with mitochondrial mutation he is unable to absorb nutrients and hasn’t been able to eat solid food since he was 3 years old. In April, he was admitted to Physicians Choice Hospice.

“The last two years have been hard on him. He has spent most of all of it in the hospital,” Mendenhall said. “Physicians Choice Hospice has allowed Grant to have his pain adequately controlled and for him to remain home and not in the hospital.”

Caring for their patients is not the only thing PCH nurses do. They also grant wishes – Butterfly Wishes.

York’s wish was to go to the “Dolly Parton’s Stampede” in Branson, Missouri, and through the Butterfly Wishes program he and his family received an all-expense paid trip for him to fulfill that wish.

However, before York and his family left for Branson, the nurses surprised him with a special ceremony that included York’s class at Keys Elementary School. This was the first time York met his classmates and teacher in person, Mendenhall said.

The Tahlequah Police Department also joined the ceremony making York their first junior officer, and he even took the official TPD oath. He was also presented a certificate, T-shirt and badge.

“Grant loves police and now he is a real police officer,” Mendenhall said.

After a photo shoot for the family, the TPD gave York a police escort out of town. Once they reached Branson, the Branson police, fire department and Missouri Highway Patrol were waiting to escort him into town.

Mendenhall said she was thankful for the community’s support her son and family received.

“Seeing our entire community come together to support Grant and our family leaves me speechless. Without the support of the community things like this wouldn’t be possible,” she said.

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