ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- St. Louis-area nurse Teena Harker helped her patient’s spirits soar recently when she went above and beyond in her patient care.
One of her oncology patients at SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital in St. Charles mentioned he wanted to check off riding in a helicopter from his bucket list, so she set out to make that dream come true and ended up surprised, herself.
On Tuesday morning, Terry McManus arrived to Helicopters Inc., a Metro East airport, in a limo, ready for the ride of his life.
"Did you ring your call light? I'm here to answer your call light," said Harker as she walked out to greet McManus, surprising him.
The two embraced and tears immediately flowed.
"Tears of joy, right?" said Harker.
McManus and Harker met a few months ago when he was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer.
"It helps to forget about the cancer. With the patient care I was getting at SSM, with Teena, I never thought about cancer, I never thought about quitting," he said.
But what he has been thinking about, for years, is a helicopter flight over St. Louis.
"Where you're going slowly over these landmarks you've seen your whole life," he said.
He mentioned it in passing at the hospital one night, and it gave Harker an idea.
"So I started calling different places," she said, and soon she found someone who would help.
Helicopters Inc. in Cahokia said they would donate a flight for McManus. Next, Jed Transportation said they would donate a limo for him to ride in from his house in St. Charles County. McManus was accompanied by his wife, daughter, and other family and friends.
"Teena is going to go, too," Jackie, McManus's wife of 36 years, whispered to him right before they loaded up in the chopper.
"What!? That wasn't part of the deal," Harker responded in shock, laughing.
In the weeks leading up to this moment, Harker worked with McManus's oncologist to rearrange his chemo treatment schedule so he would feel well enough for the flight.
Once in the sky, he saw everything he wanted, including the Gateway Arch, Busch Stadium, and Forest Park.
"It was all I thought it would be and more," said McManus.
And it all happened because of a nurse who took patient care to new heights.
"For everybody involved in this, I appreciate it from the bottom of my heart," said McManus.