Childcare worker fights cancer

“She loved the children and the children loved her.”

This is what people are saying about Lisa Joiner Gould, 45, who spent her adult life working with children –– until she became sick with cancer last May.

She always worked with children in her church. She took care of children in her home. She worked with kids at Ready, Set, Grow Child Development Center in Chelsea.

“She treated the kids here like her own kids,” said Center Director Jean McQuire. “She became involved with their families. And she was so patient with the children, so energetic and full of life.”

Children from the center visited her before she became critically ill. They sent gifts, pictures and letters. McQuire said a box labeled Ms. Lisa’s Mail Box was located in the Center where children placed these items to be delivered to their former teacher/caregiver.

Ms Lisa was always available to everybody, McQuire said. People would tell her their problems, cry on her shoulder, and she would say, “I will pray for you. Can I make a meal for you? What can I do? She’s a real servant, a real giver.”

McQuire said Gould was like the Center’s guardian angel, and her illness had affected everyone involved with it. “Someone else can do her job, but her spirit is irreplaceable.”

“Lisa is a good example of what a Christian really is,” her aunt Delores Foster told me. “She’s been stronger than any of us.”

“She has a really strong faith,” her cousin Carmelia Keeton said. “She’s been a real rock.”

Hospice has now been called in to help care for Gould, but she continues to think of others. When she learned that I was going to dedicate a column to her story, she asked that the children be told how much she loves them.

Ready, Set, Grow Child Development Center plans to act as a sponsor in the Beads of Courage program, in honor of Lisa Joiner Gould, McQuire said. The program encourages children with cancer by presenting a bead of a specific color to a child for each stage of treatment that he or she goes through. Anyone may sponsor a child for $25. For more information call 678-7123 or email readyset@bellsouth.net.

Shelba Nivens can be reached by e–mail at ssnivens@bellsouth.net.