By Aaron D’Errico
San Juan Island
We are asking for help with my mom, Cynthia Elliott, so that she can stay home in the San Juan Islands after raising my twin brother, Adam and me here while putting her heart into the community she holds dear both as a resident and frequent volunteer for many years.
Many islanders know mom for different reasons, from when she painted sets at the theater for high school and community productions to when she also became an important part of the thriving local marimba music scene on the island in the mid-90s, also helping to form the Penga youth marimba group.
Along with that she also played music and volunteered at the Island’s Convalescent Center and she made time to mentor several students at Spring Street International School too.
During all that, she also worked to create a thriving massage therapy practice and somehow still gave her all to caring for our grandma at Dorothy’s Adult Family Home, then our own home and later at the Island’s Convalescent Center.
Now it’s as if all the love mom selflessly gave to others is being given back to her when she needs it most.
In a full circle synchronicity that only the island could provide, it was heartwarming to discover that not only was mom now being cared for by a former classmate of Adam and mine, Mandy, who was part of a weekend film club program that mom had supervised years before at the community theater, along with that another of the many beloved Village at the Harbour staff members, Valeria, who had cared for our grandma at the Island’s Convalescent Center, is now lovingly caring for mom.
Meanwhile, she searched for a place off the island that would accept Medicaid since the island’s only other assisted living community, the Life Care Center, had just shut down and the Village at the Harbour is private pay.
The off-island facility she stayed at briefly was a daily nightmare of stressful conditions, isolation and her being treated more as an inconvenient number than a person by overworked staff who couldn’t help with basic comfort or attend to the complications of Parkinson’s.
Thankfully she was able to return to the Village with the help of her former husband Gordon Elliott. A fund has also been established at Islanders Bank under the name “Health Account for the benefit of Cynthia Elliott,” No. 9796. All donated fund will go to assisting Cynthia remains on the island.
Upon her return to the Village her dignity, health, independence, friendships and resilient sense of self-was soon restored. She amazed family as well as friends and staff as she worked diligently to walk again.
Lastly, a fundraising dance performance will also be held at Dance Workshop ll on Saturday, June 30 and Sunday, July 1.
The host is Lina Downes. Text her at 206-300-5926 for more information.