Healing Place could win big in national contest

The center aims to help family members cope with the loss of a loved one on their terms and with support.
The center aims to help family members cope with the loss of a loved one on their terms and with support.

MUSCLE SHOALS, AL (WAFF) - Brian Denton remembers well the events leading up to the death of his 3-year-old son, Alex.  "Alex was diagnosed with leukemia on July 3, 2008. We were at St. Jude Research Hospital for 14 months. He went to be with Jesus on Sept. 11 2009," Denton said.

In the middle of his grief after losing his son, Denton heard about "The Healing Place," which helps people deal with the grief after the passing of a loved one.  Brian didn't want to go.

"But I went to support my wife and my daughter," he said.

He said his daughter made great strides, working her way through her sorrow, and he later admitted it helped him as well. "It was really great to find out from Miss Kay that if I didn't want to talk I didn't have to, and it was ok if I didn't want to go some where I didn't have to go."

The Healing Place was founded by Kay Parker in 2002.  She recently assumed her new position of Education and Support Coordinator. "I was working at the Cancer Center and seeing children, teens and families realize the need for a place for children and families to come after the death of a loved one."

Her efforts are being recognized after being nominated by the new executive director, Emily Wingfield, for a prestigious honor. "The National Champions of Care award is an award given nationally to unsung heroes of our community that work tirelessly to make our communities a healthier place to live," said Wingfield.

Parker said the only reason she is accepting her place in the limelight is to bring notoriety to The Healing Place.

"I'm very humbled, actually," said Parker.

Parker is a finalist in the contest, which netted The Healing Place $1,000... and the possibility of more to come.

"The public votes and whoever gets the most votes wins $30,000," explained Wingfield.

Votes are accepted until March 23. To vote, visit the HealthMart Community site and scroll down to Kay's story. Learn more about The Healing Place at their website.

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