hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


November 22, 2012

Giving thanks for life's many privileges


Over recent years, he’s taken it upon himself to volunteer his time at the Haverhill Council on Aging, where he’s led a support group dealing with the challenges of aging. By helping others enjoy their golden years, he’s also helped himself.

“We focus on the gifts people have, not what’s missing,” he tells you.

For seven years, Allan Press served as a hospice chaplain, much of it volunteer. In and out of homes and hospitals he has traveled, meeting with patients whose days were numbered. In some cases, he was the best friend they could have in a dire situation.

He thanks his lucky stars than he was on the caring end, not the recipient. In one case, a patient rose from his “death bed” and made a complete recovery. Divine intervention? Allan Press would rather prefer to call it an unexpected miracle from above.

It’s been a good life for a good friend who will soon depart his Haverhill community for Austin, Texas, to be closer to his daughter Tova, son-in-law Tim and granddaughter Ally. He’s looking upon the move as a new adventure.

Others around him may call it a celebration. In 2005, Allan Press was diagnosed with pituitary adenoma. A simpler explanation is that he had a growth on his pituitary gland which could raise havoc with the optic nerve.

One surgery led to another three years later, only for doctors to discover further growth this year. Five weeks of radiation therapy at Massachusetts General Hospital appears to have the tumor in remission.

One day recently, he asked me to take him into Boston for his treatment. The privilege of serving a dear friend was all mine. We joined at a convenient site and off we went for his appointment.

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