Sue, 73, from Brookdale Horizon Bay at Hyde Park in Tampa, Florida, is a dedicated grandmother. She was very close with her own grandmother, who lived across the street from her elementary school, when she was young, and the two would eat lunch together every day. Sue said, “I decided when my grandson, Matthew, was born that I would always be mindful of his likes and interests because I wanted to build a strong relationship with him.” So when Matthew became interested in golf, Sue took golf lessons so she could play golf with him. Later on, Matthew became a hockey fan, and the two quickly became fans for their local Tampa Bay Lightning team. Sue Wished she could meet a Tampa Bay Lightning player with Matthew before it’s too late.
Sue and Matthew have been cheering on the Tampa Bay Lightning over the past ten years. Not only have the Lightning strengthened Sue’s relationship with Matthew, they’ve also inspired her. “I love how the team plays together. They are so respectful of each other; so humble. They are a great example for others,” said Sue. While some hockey teams spend time picking fights, Sue appreciates how the Lightning focus on strategy and speed.
The Tampa Bay Lightning also inspires Sue through their community efforts. Sue worked for various nonprofits throughout her life, including the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, Meals on Wheels, and Quantum Leap Farm. Sue worked in fundraising, marketing and public relations at these nonprofits. She is very impressed with the Lightning’s Community Hero Program, which allows a local hero to donate $50,000 to a nonprofit of their choice at every home game.
Sadly, Sue has fallen ill, and her prognosis is short-lived without a lung transplant. Kathy, Resident Program Manager at Brookdale Horizon Bay at Hyde Park, said that even though Sue is on oxygen therapy and on a wait list for the transplant, “…she amazes me with her positive, fearless spirit and her enthusiasm that continues in spite [of her condition].” Wish of a Lifetime, Brookdale Senior Living and the Tampa Bay Lightning worked together to arrange a meet and greet between Sue, Matthew and Tampa Bay Lightning players. Not only did Sue get to attend the morning skate and game against Nashville, she also got to meet her favorite player, Victor Hedman, as well as Dave Andreychuk and Brian Bradley. “It was fabulous. Unbelievable. The team was so close, I could hear the coach talking to them. I want to go to every single game now!” said Sue.