Deborah “Debbie” Dorsey, 59, was kind and positive, even when faced with a terminal cancer diagnosis. After one painful round of chemotherapy, Debbie decided she’d rather spend her remaining time as comfortably as possible under Haven’s care.

Debbie Dorsey (right) and her mom Jeanne. Haven supported both Debbie and her family in their time at the E.T. York Hospice Care Center in Gainesville.

Born in Gainesville in 1964, Debbie made many friends throughout her life and her 20+ year career with LifeSouth Community Blood Centers. She loved Christmas and took great pride in decorating LifeSouth’s human resources department each year.

In the six weeks that Debbie was at the E.T. York Hospice Care Center in Gainesville, her room accumulated more and more Christmas decorations from friends and family members. Haven chaplain Artie Hart said that the décor and mementos seemed to double at each of his visits, reflecting the love that Debbie had surrounding her.

Debbie’s mother Jeanne shared that Debbie was very happy with her choice to go to Haven. She spent her time visiting with loved ones and watching her favorite shows with a root beer in hand- just the way she liked it. Jeanne was particularly grateful for how attentive Haven team members were to both her and Debbie.

“Haven’s staff made sure Debbie was comfortable, and they told her right up front that even though they have a kitchen there and have structured meals, that if there was anything she wanted that wasn’t there, they would get it for her,” Jeanne said. “She quickly got to the point where she didn’t want anything to eat and would only drink root beer, and so they made sure she had plenty of root beer. They were really kind to her and made sure she didn’t have any pain at all.”

Jeanne appreciated how the team members at the care center greeted her by name and were always there when they needed them. Because Jeanne and Debbie’s father, Doug, are both in their 80s, they couldn’t fathom being able to provide the around-the-clock care that Debbie needed by themselves. Jeanne said that Haven took that burden from her, allowing her to put all her energy into simply being there for her daughter. She could feel at ease knowing that Debbie was in good hands.

“The nurses at Haven were just wonderful and Debbie loved all of them,” Jeanne said. “The nurses that were there at the end all came up and gave me a hug and I could tell they really cared for her and loved her.”

Photos of Debbie with loved ones and coworkers.