‘A Home Away From Home’

Seventy-seven-year-old Mattie States has battled cancer for over a decade. But it’s not just her own health problems she deals with on a daily basis; Mattie’s 56-year-old daughter is also fighting the disease. Like many cancer survivors, Mattie has her good days and her bad ones. However, the bad ones are few and far between.

“I’m just happy to be alive,” States said. “I’ve seen so much in my lifetime that I can’t complain because I’ve got it good. There are so many others who have it much worse than me.”

Mattie’s positive outlook in spite of her circumstances is a breath of fresh air to the other participants at Chautauqua Adult Day Care Centers, a place Mattie has called her “home away from home” for thirteen years now.

“Mattie is really a joy to be around and helps lift the mood of everyone else,” said the center’s Executive Director, Frank Bercik.

“She’s a people person, and her infectious personality is a big reason why so many people love her. She’s one of our most popular participants.”

In 2000, Mattie States was diagnosed with cancer, and was soon on Hospice care. Her doctor at the time told her she only had six months to live. Thirteen years later, she’s still going strong.

“The good Lord made me stubborn, and I’m going to make it,” joked Ms. States. “I just got over a recent bout of pain, and I fear the cancer may have spread to my stomach, but I have an awful lot to live for.”

And one thing Mattie lives for is attending Chautauqua Adult Day Care’s Taft Center which is located at Christ First United Methodist Church in Jamestown. She’s only able to go because of the scholarship program, which is funded by United Way of Southern Chautauqua County.

“Mattie is one of several participants who wouldn’t be able to take advantage of all the wonderful activities we do here, if it weren’t for this scholarship program,” said Frank Bercik. “I can’t imagine this place without her, so keeping this funding is vital.”

For Mattie States, Chautauqua Adult Day Care Center has made all the difference in the world.

“When I sit at home and stare at the walls, it drives me nuts,” said Ms. States. “I need to be around people and coming here keeps me active and has really enhanced my quality of life. I just love it.”

Mattie also loves volunteering her time at Community Helping Hands through the Chautauqua County RSVP Program, another United Way partner agency. But it’s her time at Chautauqua Adult Day Care Centers that has really added years to her life.

“I know that without this program, I wouldn’t be around today,” said Ms. States. “It gives me a reason to get up in the morning, and I don’t feel like a charity case when I come here. I love the people and the staff. It’s just a wonderful experience all around.”

Chautauqua Adult Day Care Centers is one eighteen partner agencies of United Way of Southern Chautauqua County. When you donate to the 2013 campaign, you’re helping seniors just like Mattie States, not just live a life – but live a quality one.

“I use to work at a hospital for children with disabilities,” said Ms. States. “These kids were amazing. I never saw a one of them cry the whole time I was there. They were always happy and smiling. So I guess that’s how I live my life. I put a smile on my face and just keep going.”