Last May, Xenia Giolli from Pacifica, CA, was reading the newspaper when an article caught her attention. The story was about a veteran of the Korean war, Ed Gallagher, 77, who was living alone in a nearby State Beach Park. Ed, a retired fisherman, had lost his wife about 5 years ago and since then had hopped from park to park, even living on the side of roads in his travel-worn minivan.
Xenia Giolli, from this article, also learned that Ed had terminal prostate cancer but refused to be confined in a hospital or senior home. He didn’t care too much about receiving proper care, he was determined to live his life the way he wanted and his choice was to be left alone. Xenia, a 35-year-old college student, majoring in psychology and economics, thought about the whole story and decided to do something. She was not sure exactly what but she thought paying a visit to Ed would be the obvious thing to do.
The Korean war veteran who had refused help from the many social workers who had visited him, opened up a little bit when Xenia stopped by, bringing a few magazines and food. She felt Ed was lonely and later asked the campsite staff to call her if he needed help. The next day they called because Ed couldn’t legally stay anymore, he had to leave. The psychology college student picked him up and brought him to her home. That was a temporary solution though because Ed wasn’t getting the care he needed.
The odd pair became friends and Xenia found a place for him in a Pacifica hospice. Even though Ed was against the idea, she convinced him to go and settled there. Xenia visited Ed everyday, spending time with him, becoming his closest family and giving him much needed love. The old man died at peace shortly after one of her visits on June 18th.
Xenia says that she is no saint. She also walks past homeless people all the time, but there was something special to Ed. By her actions she made the old fisherman’s last days worth living. She helped him die with dignity. Via hmbreview.com
At 79, he finally got his High School diploma in North Canton, Ohio. It took 6 years and even a heart attack couldn’t stop him. Via CantonRep.com