Making a Difference, One Costume at a Time
For approximately one year, I have posted on social media to DaVita, The Ellen Show and Twitter about DaVita teammate Shelli Neal Bounds. Why would I wage this campaign on Shelli’s behalf? It’s because of my Mom, Libbye Phillips.
Shelli is a few years younger than me, but I’ve known her since we were kids growing up. Her Mom and my Mom were great friends. I moved away from El Dorado, AR in 1985, and sadly I rarely see her in person despite my frequent visits to Arkansas. But because of social media, I get to see her love of life and how she touches the lives of so many people on a day-to-day basis. This is important to me because my Mom was a dialysis patient at the very location that is now DaVita, where Shelli works. I remember how exhausted my Mom would be after dialysis and how she dreaded getting up so early to make her appointment, yet couldn’t wait for the dialysis relief. I remember her feeling so bad because she depended on others to drive her, wait for her and care for her. Dialysis gave her life, but it also controlled her life. It was tough sometimes. I’m certain this is true for most dialysis patients.
When I see Shelli’s posts of silly costumes, crazy hats and wide smile I think “Geeze, I wish she could have been there when my Mom was a patient!” My Mom would have LOVED Shelli’s ENDLESS ENERGY, uplifting spirit and contagious laughter. In fact, when my Mom was younger, she shared this same type of compassion and merriment.
I know Shelli is normal and has bad days just like everyone else, but you would never know it. I am so inspired by her love of life and caregiving heart. She once told me that she didn’t make a ton of money but she absolutely LOVED her job. That’s pretty obvious. I laugh when I think of her stopping into the grocery store after work dressed as a lighted Christmas tree, or a bunny, or a Valentine. I know in my hometown people just wave and say “There’s Shelli!”
I saw her on Easter Sunday at church and welcomed the opportunity to say “Thanks for what you do.” She started quoting stats about the growing number of patients that the El Dorado location cares for. I am certain that she touches the life of every person who enters the door at DaVita. Shelli makes a difference, one costume at a time.
I believe that in life if you take the time to complain, you must take the time to brag. Although she would say “it’s just what I do”, Shelli Neal Bounds has earned all of the bragging that comes her way.
For Mom, Libbye Phillips 10-16-1936 / 10-4-2007
“If you don’t tell someone you are thinking about them, they will never know.”