Diane catches up with Maryanne and Jessica
All of us at Helping Hands: Monkey Helpers are thankful to all of you for your continuing support. It is because of you that we were able to support our service monkeys, and all the monkeys in our care despite the pandemic. I thought about that as I sat down to have a conversation with one of our beloved recipients Maryanne and her service monkey Jessica. (You can get to know them even more in the short film In Walks Jessica)
As you are aware no conversation took place across a kitchen table or in the comfort of a coffee shop sitting next to one another. On this sunny afternoon I clicked into a ZOOM call to see how Maryanne and Jessica were doing after a year of dealing with the pandemic. Our discussion gave me yet another glimpse into the life of one of our Helping Hands family members. “Thank goodness I have Jessica. I think if it were not for Jess I might lose my mind,” Maryanne said at the beginning of our conversation. “Being in a wheelchair is very isolating. It may sound sad, but this past year has not been that much different for me.”
Maryanne and Jessica have been together since December 2010. “Jessica and I have each other. We wake up together, talk to each other during the day, and get through the ups and downs together,” says Maryanne. Maryanne and Jessica are the epitome of the human animal bond.
In February Maryanne’s father Tom passed away. He lived in an apartment in Maryanne’s home. “My father loved Jess,” says Maryanne. “The house is very quiet without him. Before COVID I had an elderly aunt and uncle who visited frequently, but that had to stop of course. My son, who lives in the south, spent a few weeks with me after my father died, but he had to return home and go back to school and work. Now until we all get vaccinated I am back to a more isolating existence. Jess doesn’t seem aware that anything has changed. She doesn’t even notice the home health aides that come to the house are wearing masks.” I realize once again that Jessica and the support we have given to Maryanne, and all our recipients, thanks to you, has been essential in assisting Maryanne this past year and throughout these past 10.5 years.
Toward the end of our call Maryanne mentions, “In the fall of 2020, 13 years after I first was confined to the wheelchair, I got my license. I finally had some freedom, but couldn’t go anywhere.” We both have a good laugh over that!
Jess is tired of the call; the sun is shining and outdoors looks like more fun than videoconferencing – so Maryanne and I say good-bye. We both hope that the next year is less isolating, our friends continue to engage in our work, and we can meet face-to-face.
Helping Hands will continue to support Maryanne and Jessica for as long as the two are a pair. The cost of supporting a service monkey in a home is $15,000 per year. In addition to Maryanne there are ten recipients with service monkeys and 30 foster monkeys in special care homes. We are caring for 59 monkeys in Boston at the Monkey Living Center (formerly the Monkey College) who cost $500 per month to support. Your donation of $25, $50, $100, $250, or more provides food, medicine, entertainment, and veterinary care for all our service monkeys and our post service monkeys. Won’t you help us help all these little helpers like Jessica?
Diane S. Nahabedian
P.S. For $500 you can support one of our post-service monkeys for one month and insure that our little helper who provided integral services to someone who could not help themselves is now taken care of as they age.