Special to Seniors Today
As we celebrate Older American’s month in May we also celebrate some special people who have been devoted to serving our Seniors. One of these very special people is Mary Martinez, Wellness Coordinator with Florida Health Care Plans.
Almost two years ago, Mary took a brief leave of absence to give birth to her daughter, Olivia. Olivia joined their sweet family with dad, Michael and big brother Corben.
Now life was perfect for Mary both personally and professionally until she received some devastating news last month.
Mary has been diagnosed with lung and bone cancer in stage 4. She has had her first chemotherapy several weeks ago with many more treatments to follow.
Some of Mary’s fondest memories as a young child were with her Grandma, Juanita. She shared with Mary her stories, wisdom, and taught her at a young age that older adults had so much to give and share, if you are willing to be there to embrace it. It’s no surprise why she so easily gravitated towards working with seniors even with her first job in high school. After school she worked part time at various local nursing homes in different positions throughout high school—a dietary aide, certified nursing assistant, and even in the activity aide position… she did it all!
Mary graduated from the University of North Florida in 2009 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Community Health. Right out of college she became an Activity Director at a local nursing home. She ended up leaving the position to help her mother with her Dad’s care. Mary assisted her mom as she was his only caregiver so he could remain safely and comfortably at home as his Parkinson’s disease progressed.
After her father’s passing, Mary plan- ned her return to the workplace looking for a position where she would still be able to work directly with seniors but perhaps in a different setting than before. She applied for a position at Florida Health Care Plans (FHCP) as a Wellness Coordinator. During her interview, they noticed her passion was working with seniors and how she lit up when speaking about previous experience in that field. After the interview, they privately discussed creating a brand new position within the company that would include working with Medicare members. They ended up offering Mary the job—a new position they had just gotten approval to create. She accepted, as the job was literally created for her—and the rest is history!
Mary has been with FHCP for approximately five years as their Community Wellness Liaison, working out in the community to promote and coordinate wellness workshops, senior fitness classes, and other health promotion events. She gets to work with individuals from the community of all ages, but with a focus on our Older Americans. She absolutely loves her job and the company she works for. Her department may be small, but together they have made a big impact for their members and the community they serve.
Mary has dedicated her life to helping others, now it’s time for us to reach out to help Mary. If you are able, please donate to the fund Mary’s sister, Amy has set up for her. The money will go directly to Mary to help with co-pays, time off from work, childcare, and all the other extra expenses people incur with an illness of this magnitude. You can go to this link to make a monetary donation online: https://www.mealtrain.com/trains /80k665/donate/init
As with her entire life Mary remains positive and upbeat. She continues to work and take care of her family every day she is able after a treatment. She still commands a ‘can do’ attitude… that’s just who Mary Martinez is… and will continue to be!
If you have any questions or need any help in donating to Mary please contact the Seniors Today office at 386.677.7060. Our office can accept cash or checks also.