Introduction: Welcome! My name is Valarie Ford, and I am the owner and founder of Lillies Compassionate Care, and I am delighted to share my journey with you. Several pertinent factors influenced the decision to create a Home Care agency, and this is my story.
Beginning with childhood, I have always maintained the mentality of persistence and determination to conquer anything that I put my mind too. Often it is challenging; however, it provides me with the confidence, courage, and will power to overcome any obstacles. Before achieving my goal of starting my company, I contemplated the idea periodically for several years. I never took a moment to create a strategic plan or put a solid plan together. The thought would often crossed my mind as I continued to procrastinate. On September 14, 2018, God decided to turn my ideas into reality. I was awakened in the middle of the night and remained restless. Without intention or a plan in place, I sporadically logged onto the iPad and registered “Lillies Compassionate Care,” with the Minnesota Secretary of State. The name did not require any brainstorming or effort because I knew in my heart that if I were to ever move forward with starting an agency, that I would name it after my mother, “Lillie.”
Personal Inspiration: For eight years, I worked as Certified Nursing Assistant, providing personal care and housekeeping services in Nursing homes, hospice care, assisted living facilities, and in the residential houses of clients. Those whom I cared for were not patients because, in my heart, they were family.
In August of 2006, I woke up to a nightmare, to my surprise; I had lost the sensation and functional capabilities on the left side of my body, my speech slurred, and unclear, cognitive skills were not functioning, as usual, my right arm would jerk and could no longer grip with my hand, and several parts of my body were numb. I became terrified and confused as I was transported to North Memorial Hospital by ambulance. Several scans, imaging, and testings were performed, which resulted in the diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. I resided on the rehabilitation floor for around two months. The agony and embarrassment of having someone to care for my personal needs caused me to break down mentally. I no longer felt like myself, and I began to fall weak, I became depressed with the feeling of being useless and a burden to others. The words and reports from doctors caused me to feel hopeless. I began to mentally prepare myself with the realization that I would remain in a wheelchair, without the chance of regain ing my strength. I received unconditional love and support from my family, the touch and prayers from my mother carried me through the storm, but my highest inspiration and motivation came from my 6 yr old son; his smile, the sight of his face, encouraging words, and overall demeanor is all that I needed to reinforce my determination to fight harder to overcome this obstacle.
My dignity, independence, confidence, and feeling of self-worth had diminished, but my instinct of determination and perseverance developed into full force. I fought as if it was the end of the world and broke through obstacles one by one. I often struggled, fell, and got back up, I occupied myself with, therapies, art, and poetry to pass time. I became stronger with the determination to win.
By the grace of God, my life has transformed, although I’ve had several hospital stays, ongoing therapies, treatments, and barriers that caused me to feel discouraged, I have yet to give up and uphold the mentality of being a real fighter. I may face challenges and obstacles daily, but I keep my head held high, and I refuse to allow it to hinder me. Often, I sit back and reminisce on my clients and reflect on the care that I provided, I am so grateful and honored to have stood by their side, treated them as family, and went above and beyond to assure that they felt loved, respected, confident, and worthy. This feeling is remarkable and something that I will cherish forever.
My mother’s role in life also plays a significant impact on my decision to start this agency. She has the diagnosis of a rare illness called Sarcoidosis, and it has been in existence for most of my life. She is one of the most influential individuals that I know. Her strength, determination, and will-power is what has driven my ambition of refusing to give up. My mother dedicates her life into caring and supporting others, whether working in a medical office, providing care in the homes of patients, or regarding people’s lives in general, she has always seemed to make a positive impact on others. In 2009, she unexpectedly had to retire due to health concerns, and it has been the hardest experience for her, but she continues to withhold the fighting spirit of determination.
Resolution: I am embedded with a caring spirit and hold a passion for supporting and enriching the lives of others. My personal experiences, along with a positive outlook on life, is the primary reason that I chose to form this agency. I receive great joy in supporting and having the ability to make a difference in the lives of others. My goal is to provide an organization that will deliver the same love, support, and compassion to care for others that I hold within myself, and I hope that everyone can do the same.