Fulfilling dreams ‘One Last Time’

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Dee, 86, poses with Greg and Tiffinay Walker and One More Time board treasurer Amy Bartoo prior to the Willie Nelson concert earlier this month. (Courtesy photo)

Tiffinay Walker was devastated when her beloved father, Roger, died suddenly of pneumonia in February 2017. He was only 58.

Overwhelmed by a feeling of emptiness and coming to grips with the reality that she could no longer spend special times with her dad, Walker was determined to help others enjoy extraordinary life experiences before it’s too late.

Walker’s goodwill mission was fulfilled recently when she launched One More Time NW, a nonprofit dedicated to enriching the lives of adults with life-limiting issues or diseases by helping them live life to their fullest—like there was no tomorrow.

“I just wished I had one more trip to the lake or camping or any of the other amazing things my dad and I enjoyed together,” she says. The shock of his death evoked a wide range of emotions that Walker, a healthcare professional, had heard so much about but never imagined she’d experience.

“I didn’t realize that people really do go through the steps of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance,” Walker says. By helping to create lasting memories through One Last Time, she hopes to alleviate those troubling (and often necessary) emotions.

Walker likens One Last Time to an adult version of the Wishing Star or Make-A-Wish foundations—organizations that arrange experiences described as “wishes” for children with life-threatening or terminal medical conditions.

That purpose of providing “wishes” that are unforgettable encounters is exactly what Walker seeks to offer—whether it’s on a grand scale like a hot air balloon ride, or just a token experience like a drive around the block.

It’s all about creating situations that can mean so much to somebody who may be in the final stages of their life.

Such was the case with Rebecca, an elderly woman with Huntington’s disease who Walker, a trained Certified Nursing Assistant with 20 years’ experience, cared for in her final days.

“Huntington’s is a neurological disease that makes you unable to control your movements and Rebecca had gotten to the point where she wanted to go to Hospice,” Walker says.

So the former CNA, who now works as a community outreach coordinator for Reliant Healthcare, offered to take Rebecca to the doctor. Because of the uncontrolled body movements associated with Rebecca’s condition, Tiffinay worried the elderly patient might unwittingly unbuckle her seatbelt or cause a commotion during the ride.

“But Rebecca did none of those things,” Tiffinay says. “She just enjoyed every minute of the car ride and when we got back home to her driveway, she reached out and said, ‘Don’t stop. Let’s drive some more.’ It was the first time in the six months that I’d ever heard her speak.”

Walker would never hear Rebecca talk again; she died about 36 hours after that heartwarming car ride.

To Walker, it was a sign.

“The loss of my daddy started the thought of One More Time and then the experience with Rebecca was truly the catalyst for me to think, ‘yes, let’s do this,’” she says. So she began to research nonprofits and months later launched One More Time.

As word spreads about One More Time, the list of memorable events Walker has been able to fulfill continue to grow.

On Aug. 3, Walker was able to fulfill a long-time wish for Dee, a disabled 86-year-old lifelong fan of Willie Nelson. Dee joined Tiffinay and her husband, Greg, at the country music legend’s concert Northern Quest Resort and Casino in Airway Heights.

“She was singing and clapping and she really enjoying every minute of Willie,” Walker says. “It was amazing; she’s a true fan and the experience was just fantastic. I can’t to these things with my dad, but I can do them with people like Dee and to make people happy is such an awesome thing.”

And there’s so much more to One More Time than concerts and car rides, Walker says.

Some of the memorable experiences she has helped create to date include a retirement party, birthday celebrations, arranging for a local artist teach a painting class and even helping a client publish a novel.

Full of energy and ambition, Walker has more in store for people who want to create life-changing memories.

“I want to do a hot air balloon ride as part of Assisted Living Week which starts Sept. 10,” she says. “It would be for the elderly and handicapped. In eight hours, I’d like to take 200 people up in a balloon!”

One More Time’s Facebook page, while created only a few weeks ago, already has more than 150 followers and inspirational posts like this:

“Celebrating 92 years with this wonderful woman (Marjorie)! Since coming on hospice service, she has gone parasailing, zip lining, drove 91 mph in a sports car, and lives every moment daily! Marjorie, you are an inspiration! Happy birthday!”

Those interested in learning more about One More Time NW or creating a lasting memory for themselves or a loved one can contact Walker at (208) 512-0814 or visit Facebook.com/onemoretimenw/.

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