Surfing was just one of Jeff's loves

Jeff owned a collection of surfboards and was often seen shredding the waves at Morro Rock with his son. Jeff also had a passion for mountain biking and chugged up sharp, steep trails like a locomotive. Jeff relished weeklong ski trips to Mammoth with his wife and children. Jeff was revered as a construction manager and was described by his peers as a robust, beautiful, and gracious man. Then catastrophe struck.

Jeff was at the height of his athleticism and career when he noticed weakness in one leg. The heartbreaking diagnosis was amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. There is no cure. Shattered with this news, Jeff’s wife, Sara, reached out to Hospice SLO County.

Over the next 2 years, Hospice SLO County was honored to help Jeff, Sara, and their family navigate through these traumatic circumstances, confronting changing realities powered by love.

  • The family began Anticipatory Grief Counseling to help understand their tumultuous feelings and reactions.
  • Sara joined the Caregiver Support Group, a safe place to discuss the stresses, challenges, and rewards of providing care for a loved one with a terminal illness.
  • Jeff was matched with an In-Home Volunteer who provided a consistent supportive presence allowing Sara, who was seriously exhausted, respite time to take care of herself.
  • A Pet Peace of Mind volunteer took over their golden retriever's dog walks and vet visits.
  • An End-of-Life Doula helped explain the illness to the children and provided Jeff and Sara practical advice for what was ahead, including helping Jeff plan a memorial service.
  • And finally, after Jeff passed away in his family’s loving arms, Sara and the children benefitted from family Grief Counseling for many months.

“Hospice SLO County made unbearable circumstances manageable," said Sara. "We are forever grateful.”