Vietnam Veteran marks holidays and birthdays at Cleveland Fisher House

David Yagger went to the doctor for a brain bleed and found out that he had a rare form of sinus cancer that necessitated specialty care. The Vietnam Veteran and his wife spent 54 days with a community of caring at the Cleveland Fisher House while undergoing radiation therapy. The staff at the Fisher House made sure that his birthday and their holidays were still special.

Rockville, MD, Nov. 28, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- This story is from Gloria and David Yagger. David is a veteran who was diagnosed with cancer that necessitated almost two months of treatment in Cleveland. The couple spent the entirety of the 2020-2021 holiday season at the Cleveland Fisher House. Here, David and Gloria share their story:

David was diagnosed in August 2020 with adenoid Cystic Carcinoma and our life changed. After seeing several specialists, we were sent to Cleveland Clinic because he needed to see a deep skull surgeon.  After several appointments, we were told that surgery wasn’t an option and David would need 35 treatments of radiation.

After meeting with a social worker, she suggested the Fisher House would be the best place for us to spend our 54 days in Cleveland. It is very hard to express in words what the Fisher House has done for my husband and myself. With masks, hand sanitizer, and all that goes along with the Covid–19, we all endured. The staff of The Fisher House made all of the residents going through the same uncertainty feel like family. It was truly a blessing.  Nick, one of the staff members, made us Thanksgiving dinner, a surprise spaghetti dinner (which included Nicks closely guarded secret meatball recipe) on a Sunday night and on New Year's Day he made shrimp scampi. Miss Henry and Drew surprised David on his birthday with balloons, muffins and a birthday song. The staff was so nice and just treated us like kings and queens. To have your own room, bathroom and access to a community kitchen was amazing. The refrigerator and freezer were always stocked with food to prepare our meals.

We tried to keep to a routine as much as possible. We are frequent walkers, typically walking three to four miles a day at our home in Sinclairville, New York. The friends we made at the house walking daily outside when possible or up and down the halls of the home. They could never believe our age at the Fisher House. One of the residents’ wives said, “When I grow up I want to be just like you guys.”

We loved helping the staff keep everything sanitized. We were able to help wipe down the counters and microwaves and kept our own room clean. Yolanda, one of the housekeepers, always told us that we didn’t need to help, but it gave us something to pass the time and also to give back to the staff for all they did for us.

When you are together with other people dealing with the same stress, it is such a blessing to have a place like the Fisher House to feel safe, loved, and blessed by so many wonderful people. God gave us the Fisher House during this time of our lives and we say THANK YOU.


David Yagger and his wife, Gloria, celebrated the holidays at the Cleveland VA Medical Center Fisher House

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