Thanks to good will of others, Betty Demkey is able to get out and about again


Betty Demkey has a reason to smile again. Here's a hint; it's royal blue with four wheels, brakes and a seat.

It's not a luxury sports car, but a brand new walker – and it makes all the difference for Demkey who relies on the device to get around in public.

Thanks to Caressant Care, the 63-year-old has a new walker after her old one was stolen from her van overnight on Aug. 21. Since she lived on a fixed income, Demkey knew she would be saving money for awhile to replace the specialized device, which comes with a price tag around $400.

It didn't take long after the Times-Journal published her story Thursday for complete strangers, including Caressant Care owner Jim Lavalle, to reach out to the retiree offering their assistance.

Lavelle knew he wanted to do something to restore Demkey's freedom. He contacted his staff and arranged to purchase a brand new walker that is even better than her previous one.

“This was an opportunity to go above and beyond. Here's this women who's essentially had her means of getting around stolen," said Lee Griffi, corporate communications manager for Caressant Care in Woodstock.

"To us that was just an opportunity to be a good corporate citizen ... It is a good feeling.”

The company moved quickly. Demkey picked up her walker at Yurek Pharmacy and Home Healthcare hours after Caressant Care staff first spoke with her.

“It's just awesome. I'm just so grateful,” said Demkey. “It's really sturdy... This will work out just perfectly.”

Demkey, who also relies on oxygen, doesn't need the walker to get around inside her home. For convenience, she frequently left her old walker in her vehicle when she wasn't using it. It's a mistake she said she won't make again.

Demkey is overwhelmed with the outpouring of support she has received and grateful to Caressant Care for stepping in and helping her regain her independence.

“It's like my freedom has come back,” she said.


By Jennifer Bieman
Reprinted from the St. Thomas Times-Journal, August 29, 2015

In photo: Caressant Care on Bonnie Place director of nursing Diane Hollingsworth, left, greets Betty Demkey and her brand new walker at her St. Thomas home.