Acts of Kindness

96-year-old in hospice gets dream to ride a motorcycle

October 9th, 2019

Age is simply a number, and it doesn’t matter how old you are to make your dreams come true.

Meet Helen Sharp, a lovely 96-year-old woman who’s had one big dream for almost her entire life: to ride a cool motorcycle.

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Chris Clark / Spectrum Health Beat Source: Chris Clark / Spectrum Health Beat

It’s something that Helen has been thinking about for a very long time, and she and her husband hoped that they’d get a motorcycle together someday. She enjoyed riding bikes, but a motorcycle would be pure bliss for her. Unfortunately, the couple got too busy running their own farm and raising children, so the idea of buying a motorcycle never came to fruition.

Her husband Arnold recently passed away, but Helen still hadn’t given up her dream of riding a motorcycle.

“It was something that she talked about for years. I knew that she wanted to do this,” Helen’s daughter Joyce said to TODAY.

Last February, the elderly woman had to go to Spectrum Health Hospice and Palliative Care.

The woman suffers from congestive heart failure as well as macular degeneration. Her relocation to the medical facility initially worried the entire family, as they thought that Helen didn’t have much longer to live.

However, her condition actually dramatically improved in the hospice. The woman received a new set of medications that she reacts much better too, and she’s also lost almost 50 pounds. Although that may sound alarming, the weight loss is mostly fluid that impacted her health in a negative way. In other words, Helen felt better than she had been in years.

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Chris Clark / Spectrum Health Beat Source: Chris Clark / Spectrum Health Beat

The caretakers at the hospice noticed Helen’s improving condition, and they wanted to know if she had any dreams left that were unfulfilled.

“(They) asked mom if she had anything on her bucket list and she said she would really like to ride a motorcycle,” Joyce told.

The caretakers immediately had a great idea.

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Chris Clark / Spectrum Health Beat Source: Chris Clark / Spectrum Health Beat

They knew that one of their colleagues, surgical technician Shelley Spedowski, is a big fan of three-wheeled motorcycles along with her husband Jim. The couple was more than willing to make this beautiful wish come true.

When Helen heard that her dream might actually come true, she started to have second thoughts and feared that she would simply be too old for this.

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Spectrum Health Beat Source: Spectrum Health Beat

“She said, ‘Well maybe I shouldn’t do this,'” her daughter recalled. “I said, ‘Mom, you need to fulfill your dreams. This is what you had been asking for.”

Helen decided to go through with it, and she has zero regrets.

Equipped with a classic pink Route 66 bandana, a helmet, and a traditional black Harley jacket, she was completely ready for the ride of her life.

Jim took the motorcycle on a nice route as both of them enjoyed the view, but it didn’t take long before Helen asked if he could hit the throttle and go faster. Jim was more than happy to oblige!

The two of them then drove for around half an hour through Bromley Park in Mecosta, and it’s an experience that the 96-year-old woman will always cherish and never forget.

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Chris Clark / Spectrum Health Beat Source: Chris Clark / Spectrum Health Beat

“Some nights, I still can’t sleep. It was beautiful,” she told. “I am almost 97. I can’t believe I got to ride a motorcycle.”

Daughter Joyce couldn’t be more thankful to the hospice staff and in particular Shelley and Jim who made all of this possible.

“Her health has improved,” she said. “She got to fulfill one of her dreams that she wanted to do. It was just amazing to her. She still talks about it every day.”

“If you’ve got a dream, go ahead and push it and get that dream to come true,” Joyce concluded.

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Source: Spectrum Health Beat, TODAY