by Shelby Durden
Jacksonville University Intern
Mike Probst, a resident at Regents Park Assisted Living is well-known and loved by staff and fellow residents. He is in such a unique position at the facility in which he serves, it is almost impossible to calculate how much time and service he has provided. It would not be an exaggeration to say that Mike has served the practical, spiritual and emotional needs of the 120 residents of Regents Park on a daily basis for the last 4 years.
Mike was diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma in 2012. The cancer spread to his bone marrow and he had to have 8 months of chemotherapy. Defying the odds, Mike is now cancer-free, but the chemo damaged the lining of his bones requiring him to be dependent on a wheelchair. It is from this position that he provides extraordinary care for others.
At 64 years of age, he has found himself living with much older patients who are in various stages of mental and physical decline. When he could have easily given up, he turned his situation around and saw it as an opportunity to be a blessing. And he has been a blessing to these people since the day he arrived 4 years ago.
A short time after arriving at Regents Park, Mike noticed that many residents had wheelchairs in various stages of disrepair. Being quite the handyman before his illness, he began to voluntarily repair their wheelchairs. Many of the electric wheelchairs were in need of new batteries. Medicare does not provide for that, so Mike started a fund and raised money to buy new batteries and installed them for the residents for free. Without this assistance, the wheelchairs would otherwise sit unused while the patients would be bed-bound.
He is so loved and trusted by his fellow residents that he has become the “go to” guy for just about anything they need. He is their TV programmer, moving man – carrying things to their rooms that they can’t lift, and serves wherever there is a need. Because he such a trusted friend and confidant, Mike is called upon at times by the staff to calm a resident who is stressed. He even calls Bingo for the ladies. For the past 2 years, he has also served as president of the patient association for 2 years advocating for patient care and concerns.
Mike has had an invaluable impact on the lives of the residents of Regents Park. He values each one and ensures that they are all taken care of.
Mike felt that his life was over when he ended up in an assisted living facility at age 60. But as he began to see those who were much worse off than himself, he realized he was there for them. He simply became a friend to every one of them and treated them as he would want to be treated. Mike Probst will be receiving the 2016 HandsOn Willing and Able award for his outstanding work in The Regents Park Assisted Living Facility.
Join us to celebrate Mike and other community volunteers at the Celebrate GOOD Festival on April 17, 2016 from 2-6 at Friendship Fountain. Register for free admission at celebrategood.org.