Dona is a truly remarkable woman, one of those people we may meet in this life if we are lucky, and even if we are meeting her at the end of our own life, she is someone we would be all the more happy to have sitting by our bedside. Dona is what is known as an abider, a person who sits with dying people who have no families and are facing their end all alone.
Dona’s own long life has been an extraordinary journey filled with joys and sadness. As she approaches her 83rd birthday in 2019, her memories of the death of one of her sons who perished in a bus fire, or the passing of her husband after suffering from years of dementia, or the litany of operations she has survived are stories that can break your heart. But this diminutive little lady with the big eyeglasses who wears plaid blouses with a matching bow in her hair keeps a bright smile on her face that is said to light up the room and fill others with joy, is still going about her daily life in the senior living community she calls home.
Her own life story could easily fill a book, beginning with part of a childhood in an orphanage, graduating from Scranton Technical High School, becoming a fashion model in her senior year, and awarded “Doll of the Class” in her school yearbook. After graduating, Dona got married and gave birth to six sons, later divorced, raised her family as a single parent working until her retirement in 1991. Two years later, she married a fellow she met in church, began to write lyrics and melodies for songs recorded by gospel artists, and spent Saturdays with her husband out looking for coins and cans they turned in for cash, raising thousands of dollars for others in need.
Along the way, Dona began to write poems as well as the lyrics and melodies for songs, many of which were recorded by gospel singers. One of her major accomplishments in song-writing is “You Are the Great I Am” that was published in 2000. But it was back in 1984 when she wrote her poem “Give It Away” that conveys the whole spirit of her life, as in this second verse:
“You must reach out and show you care,
Down deep within your heart.
Being sensitive and aware
You need to do your part.”
In a life that has covered many miles, overcome great challenges, suffered heart-wrenching sadness, and still rejoiced in the gifts and goodness that she so fervently believes flow from the Lord she worships, Dona says that her use of Prevagen helps her stay focused on the two core beliefs of her life, “which is to love the Lord and give yourself to others.”
Perhaps most of all, Dona’s ability to reflect on her extraordinary life and all the joys and sadness her life has entailed is exactly what makes her a perfect example of how a member of the Prevageneration is living a fulfilling life all the way to the end…and enabling her to abide with others.