Helen’s French Fry Dream

Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Victor, NY
Ontario-Yates Hospice

The HWS Colleges DreamCatchers Chapter fulfilled the Dream of Helen Sherin Duffy, a 92 year old woman in Victor, NY who asked for caramels, McDonald’s fries, and company. The Chapter brought her Werther’s soft Caramels, McDonald Fries, tea, and a fall candle. They all sat around the living room and ate sandwiches and chips while Helen ate the fries. As part of the Dream, the students discovered that McDonalds has a national french fry making competition and the cook at the McDonalds in Farmington, NY won a national contest for his fries. The Chapter brought Helen the best McDonalds fries in the United States. Helen is a kind, funny, and vibrant woman, with many interesting stories. The students learned about her journeys all over the world, as she’s visited London, Ireland, Israel, Egypt, Africa and all across the United States. As described by her daughter, she is a “straight shooter feisty and tenacious.” Helen was a joy to get to talk with, and everyone in the Chapter loved her humor, strong character, and kind nature. Throughout the afternoon, the students discussed her devotion to nursing and its importance to not only to her, but also to her daughter and other extended family. Helen comes from a family of nurses, and worked as a nurse for over fifty years. She was a Lieutenant JG in the Naval nurse Corps. She has dedicated her life to uplifting others with the utmost care in many states all across the United States. She raised two children, Karen and Kevin, alone. Her son Kevin graduated from Hobart in 1971. The students discussed their lives at college and how Hobart and William Smith Colleges has changed since her son attended. Helen explained how important Christianity is in her life, and since her retirement and going to bible college in Oklahoma. Every other week, a pastor comes to her home to read bible verses and discuss faith. She explained to them how much she appreciated being connected to the hospice, as it allowed for groups like ours to come visit. She was kind, supportive, and encouraged all of the students to get involved in the community. She even encouraged them all to vote and to be activists in their own ways. As they finished eating and chatting, they gifted Helen a Hobart blanket and a her favorite candy, caramels. She was very excited, and told them the two bags would be gone in a weeks time. Her daughter told them that she would love to have the students back if they were around, and that she was thankful they were all engaged in the larger world. Jan DiDuro, the Bereavement and Volunteer Coordinator at Ontario-Yates Hospice which is a of UR Medicine Home, has been working with the DreamCatchers Club. She was kind enough to organize our visit and help us plan Helen’s wish.

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