Archive for Wednesday, April 24, 2002

Local woman dedicates time to making others, herself feel better

April 24, 2002

Inzella McAnally has suffered a heart attack, her vision is getting worse, her feet are sore and she goes through dialysis treatment three times a week at an area hospital.

Yet, she doesn't gripe and complain about her health problems, or about how bad she feels after the dialysis treatments.

Instead, she funnels what energy she has into visiting those who feel worsepeople who are sick or homebound and could use the company.

People who need to laugh because "laughter is better than medicine," she said.

She encounters those people wherever she goes at the hospital, the grocery store, church or at the gas station.

Last week, she visited a 99-year-old homebound woman, taking breakfast sandwiches and coffee along with her.

Her visit cheered up the woman and "I came out of there feeling sky high and we just had straight coffee," McAnally joked.

"I found out a long time ago

that if I was feeling bad and I could cheer someone else up that was feeling bad, it would make me feel better," she said.

Sometimes her trips involve visiting a group of children at a hospital.

When visiting the children, she'll dress up in a funny costume or as the Easter bunny, just to get a smile or a laugh.

"It puts a smile on their face and they love it," McAnally said. "Whether it's an adult or a child, I love to put smiles on people's faces."

Next week marks National Volunteer Week and it would be convenient to label McAnally as a volunteer.

She's worked in the Basehor-Linwood School District, volunteering time to tutor students and visiting the school in some of her trademark costumes during the holidays.

But she's more than a volunteer.

She's a mother and grandmother, a tutor, a teacher, a friend and some even say, an inspiration.

"She's more than a volunteer," said Tammy Potts, co-coordinator of the Basehor-Linwood School District YouthFriends program

"She's been an inspiration to so many people for so many years. She really is a remarkable person."

Tom Sack, Glenwood Ridge Elementary School principal, was a teacher at Basehor Elementary School several years ago working toward a master's degree in education.

McAnally helped Sack tutor students at BES.

"She just has a passion for kids and helping people," he said. "She is just a really caring person. I was inspired by her passion to help people."

Although the remedy for her medical problems usually works, there are days when she doesn't feel well, she said.

And on those days, she leans on her family to make her feel better.

McAnally's son and his daughter live with her, and she's also the legal guardian of her two grandnephews, so her tonic for feeling better is always close by.

"I know for a fact these kids help me out tremendously," she said.

Being near kids and raising her grandchildren is her purpose in life, McAnally said.

"Most grandmas are off doing their thing, but my thing is raising the children," McAnally said.

"I just feel that God has a purpose for me and these are the things I do to serve him," she said.

With the concerns of everyone else at hand, McAnally has little time for herself. Sometimes she'll have breakfast with a group of friends and they'll play card games afterward.

Once in a while, on a Saturday night, she'll venture down the road to Tonganoxie and sit in on performances at Glen's Opry House.

But mostly her spare time is spent with children or other people, easing their minds and her own about the future.

"I just try and take things in stride and try to keep busy," she said. "I live for today and worry about tomorrow when it happens."

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