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Photo by Dante Fontana, © Style Media Group.
Marie Harlow discovered her passion for social work while still a child, watching her mother, a nurse, assist her many patients.
Sadly, Harlow’s mother passed away from cancer in 1995, leaving her as the sole caretaker of her father and aunt – both of whom were suffering from dementia. The experience was devastating. “Things like that profoundly change your life,” Harlow says. “It changed me. It made me have more empathy.” After obtaining her master’s in social work, Harlow spent several years working at Snowline Hospice before founding Harlow’s Help at Home, an organization that helps provide meals and other crucial end-of-life services for people living both at home and in long-term care facilities. In addition, the organization offers free dementia support groups on the third Thursday of every month, and in October of each year, they participate in the Alzheimer Association’s annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
Although a recent back surgery has made travel difficult, Harlow continues to make regular visits to each of her organization’s clients. “I love being one on one with a client, hearing the stories of their lives,” she explains. And while she admits her job can be emotionally draining, she finds balance by fostering dozens of rescue animals and helping find them new homes. “Animals have always been my solace,” Harlow says, adding with a laugh, “It’s my therapy.”
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