When Will Hawk was 10, his recently divorced father was diagnosed with cancer, diabetes and a failing heart. He and his siblings had little choice other than to do the best they could to help their dad through a most difficult time.
“It was whirlwind of worst case scenarios,” recalls Will. “I had to learn from a very early age what it was like to be a caregiver.”
Those difficulties ultimately led him down the path to a career in compassionate caregiving.
“I cared for my dad first, and then my grandmother, and eventually became the primary family caregiver. By the time I graduated from high school, I had the skills and experience to become a professional caregiver.”
When Jessica Hawk was 14, her beloved grandmother was diagnosed with a brain tumor the size of a grapefruit. Following the removal of the tumor, her grandmother was left incapacitated and had to re-learn how to walk, talk, eat, dress and all the other daily activities of living.
Jessica continued to care for her grandmother through high school, and that experience helped shape her career.
“Seeing how much my grandmother depended on her nurses and how much she appreciated them, made me want to become a nurse and I would eventually become a licensed vocational nurse (LVN).”
In the years following his high school graduation, Will would attend art school, work restaurant and construction jobs, start three successful businesses and all the while continuing to care for his family at home. While working at a restaurant job he met Jessica and in sharing their stories, they found they had mutual interests in caring.
“We were just friends at the time, but we shared a common bond of looking after our loved ones,” recalls Jessica. “I was going to nursing school, and helping care for my grandmother, and I was also helping to care for a good friend who was born with cystic fibrosis. Will was caring for a family friend at the time as well, and so we shared a common bond.”
Like Jessica, it was the experience of providing care for his family, and feeling the personal rewards of that service, that led Will to reshape his priorities. Eventually, he divested his business interests and went to work as professional caregiver.
Will and Jessica lost touch with each other for about five years, before reconnecting and meeting again turned out to be symbiotic.
“When we talked, we discovered that he had become a homecare provider, and I had been working as a nurse for the past four years,” says Jessica. “He was talking about starting a new business, and we decided to get together for dinner to discuss the possibility of me joining him in his new venture.”
During their initial discussions, they talked about the need for a faster, more flexible, and more economic delivery system for in-home caregiving services on a larger scale.
Together, in 2012, they founded Love Right, a dedicated domestic referral agency that allows seniors to live in their homes safely, and to control their own healthcare needs and services accordingly.
“We’ve created a 21st Century business model for in-home care that is based on our own experience,” explains Will. “We link professional, compassionate, caregivers to those in need with a minimum of overhead and bureaucracy. It is a plan that worked well for us, and our families and friends, and it continues to work well for our clients today.”