Baker College of Muskegon nursing student, Alison Terpsma, and her family were supported by local nonprofit, Shields of Hope West Michigan, in the final months of her mother’s life. Since then, Alison’s fellow members of Baker’s Student Nurses Association (SNA) in Muskegon have been there to support her, displaying their collective care for her in a unique way.
SNA members organized and implemented a fall fundraiser in memory of Alison’s mother, culminating in a $1,000 donation that was presented to the nonprofit’s board of directors at its November meeting in Zeeland. The students sold candy bars for $1 each at events in and around Muskegon, and collected cash donations to raise the funds.
It was a small, yet powerful way that the group showed support for Alison after her mother battled cancer earlier this year. Shields of Hope is comprised of a group of local public safety officials from the area who spread hope, love and encouragement to individuals and families impacted by cancer.
Volunteers from Shields of Hope organized a home visit for Alison’s mother in the days before she passed, which gave friends and family the opportunity to spend more time with her, and each other. This helped to create meaningful memories and a sense of closure for those involved.
“It’s so hard for me to put into words what all of this has meant to me. I honestly don’t think I could have gotten through this past year without the encouragement of my nursing school family at Baker, students and faculty,” Alison said. “I even had a tremendous amount of support from my online informatics instructor at Baker (Ed Bissett) this summer.”
The SNA is a national, nonprofit organization for students enrolled in nursing programs, and is dedicated to fostering the professional development of nursing students. Baker College has multiple SNA chapters at its campuses across Michigan, where student members are frequently involved in volunteer and community projects. Among the SNA’s core values are, “leadership and autonomy, professionalism and care,” all of which were displayed by Alison’s peers during this fundraising effort.
“I wanted to quit college so many times, but the encouragement I received kept me going,” Alison added. “Then to come back this fall just weeks after my mom’s passing to this fundraiser… I’m honestly speechless (by) the fact we raised $1,000 just by selling candy bars. I’m moved to tears when I really allow myself to think about it. I know that money will be put to good use!”