Where should all of the monkeys go?

To the Media:
I know about depression. Our family even wrote a book about it – No More Secrets – A Family Speaks About Anxiety, Depression and Attempted Suicide. www.speakingaboutdepression.com
So I guess that is why I care so much about lifting the spirits of people living in senior living communities. My Aunt Mary lived in a nursing home for many years.
My current project Stories for Seniors is a happy topic, and an antidote for the low spirits experienced by many folks living in nursing homes.
This is the story of Max who is a sort of an animal angel. I guess it can be summed up as Max’s Mission.
Everyone wants to make a difference in the world. That is what I was thinking a few weeks ago while sitting in a Cracker Barrel restaurant eating my pancakes. These are the exact words that I said to myself:
There has to be some way to use my unique talents and experiences. I have lots of energy and creativity. How can I put them to good use?
My cell phone rang as I was eating my pancakes. A lady by the name of Sadelle was on the other end of the line. She lives in Vermont and her mother lives in Philadelphia.
This is what she said to me:
“My  78 -year-old mother has a collection of 300 stuffed animals – all primates,”  Sadelle said. They were given to her as gifts by her husband. Steve just passed away and we are moving Mom down to Georgia to live in a retirement community, not far from my brother’s home. Her Philadelphia home is like a stuffed animal shelter – overrun with chimps, apes, gorillas and monkeys. I know that you collect stuffed animals to distribute to nursing home residents. Would you be interested in distributing her monkeys to the people that you visit?”
I went to her home in Northeast Philadelphia. I hated to think of the 300 adorable and brand-new monkeys abandoned. I knew that I had to accept this special donation. But I did not think that this group of primates was meant to be delivered to residents in the Philadelphia area.
There was one very special primate.  His name was Max and he was life-size, bigger than Sandy. He was the apple-of-her eye. Max was the first animal that Steve gave to Sandy many years ago. I realized that Max would be a great spokes-monkey for sharing the message about what we can all do to help the lonely people in nursing homes. (One nursing home administrator told me that 60 % of residents do not have any visitors.)
A thought for the media:
I was wondering if you would like to feature a story about my campaign to raise awareness. My aim is to improve the lives of people living in nursing homes by letting folks know how I began the Stories for Seniors Project three years ago and how they can do the same.
I began the STORIES FOR SENIORS project at a time that I was feeling a bit lonely myself. I was an empty-nester mom whose four adult children were living on their own. I felt sad and needed a purpose or a project.
 (2006 photo of my kids – They are now all grown up and living on their own.)
Well, lots has happened in three years. I have a purpose.
I have visited over 125 nursing homes and collected and distributed close to 10,000 stuffed animals. Other people can do what I did – start their own Stories for Seniors program in their community. It doesn’t cost a penny to start and the rewards of helping others are too many to measure.
Today, I head an organization called STORIES FOR SENIORS. www.storiesforseniors.wordpress.com
I would like to take Max down to Canton, Georgia, back to the loving arms of Sandy. And along the way, I would like to visit nursing homes in the states from PA to Georgia distributing the monkeys to the lonely folks.
In each city that I visit along the way, I would like to do an interview. Max can be the spokes-monkey to deliver the message that all people need comfort, hope, reassurance and unconditional love. Max has work to do!
Max doesn’t have a business plan just a dream to be back in Sandy’s arms.
Would you like to do an interview? I would like to let folks know that we all have a way to make a difference…..perhaps just volunteering for an hour a month!
I cannot fund this myself but I thought if I raised $3,000, that would cover the rental car, gas, tolls, hotel and food for a three weeks on the road  tour visiting senior living communities and delivering Max to Sandy. Thank you.  
Patricia Gallagher
Cell: 267 939 0365
Phila suburb (Chalfont, PA)

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