After moving from New York to California four years ago, Giuliana Bender had no idea her next visit with her brother would be under such harsh circumstances.
The Twilight Wish Foundation Barstow Senior Center Chapter recently granted Bender’s wish to fly to New York to see her terminally ill brother, Lewis Joels.
“I had read about what the Twilight Wish Foundation does so I had asked if they could help with a case like mine, and they did,” Bender said.
Joels was diagnosed with cancer in February. According to Bender, Joels is suffering from metastatic squamous carcinoma.
“I just want everyone to know I am so grateful because I would not have been able to do it myself,” Bender said. “I am grateful to Twilight Wish Foundation for making this visit possible. I wanted to see him and got the opportunity to let him know how much I love him and have that last physical contact with him.”
Bender left to visit her brother in New York on June 14 and returned on June 20. Joels was on a liquid diet, although once Bender arrived that was put to an end.
Joels was no longer drinking shakes while Bender was around as he was eating full meals of fish, turkey, liver and more.
“Appetite improved greatly! It was like a competition as to what he could eat next,” Bender said.
Bender joined Joels for a doctor visit while she was in New York, although there is not much more doctors can do for Joels, she said.
“No further chemo, nothing more can be done except get affairs in order,” Bender said. "Seeing him waste away, day from day, became weaker, confusion set in. My thoughts were, ‘that was the last time I was going to see him alive.’”
The Twilight Wish Foundation grants wishes to low-income seniors aged 65 and over. For more information, to make a donation or to make a wish request, call the Barstow Senior Center at 760-256-5023 or visit www.barstowseniorcenter.org. The Barstow Senior Center is located at 555 Melissa Ave., Barstow.