In May 2015, my wife of 30 years, Diane Wallahan Barber, was diagnosed with late Stage IV Pancreatic Cancer.
She had no symptoms until just prior to the discovery of the disease, which quickly metastasized throughout her body resulting in her death less than 12 weeks later at the young age of 53.
When we first married, Diane was earning her Music Therapy degree at the University of Kansas. Much of her studies focused onPalliative Care. She understood the importance of how this specialized field helps patients facing potentially terminal illnesses live as comfortably and long as possible, while providing much needed assistance and relief to their families.
Diane endured many hospital visits and specialized home treatments so she could feel some level of comfort. We found little, organized support in our community in regards to Palliative Care. Hospice was offered, but would have meant she would die at home. Diane didn’t want our young daughter to be burdened with that memory every time she walked through the house.
Our family couldn’t be happier with the services provided by the amazing, dedicated staff and management of Cox Medical Center Branson. Their team made adjustments allowing Diane to receive Palliative-like care, and it became apparent to all, that this type of program was desperately needed. The Executive Director of Skaggs Foundation approached us about forming the Diane W. Barber Palliative Care Memorial Fund, in order to one day soon, provide the most substantial Palliative Care program in our entire region. This brought an enthusiastic and beautiful smile of approval to Diane’s face. One week later, in the hospital, Diane peacefully passed away in my arms.
We applaud Cox Medical Center for the leadership, courage, dedication and commitment in providing only the best in health care. We are so deeply honored that our personal crisis would be catalyst to a much needed service for our area residents. We never considered that our family would be in this position, and we know that there will be family after family facing similar challenges every year to come.
We ask you to please consider donating to the Skaggs Foundation Diane W. Barber Palliative Care Memorial Fund.
You can help us make her dream, a reality for others!
Thank you. – Jim and Jessica Barber