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Help change the face of serious illness: Chu Batsaihan’s story


My dad, Bata Sandag, had long lived with liver disease and his symptoms had advanced so severely that he often landed in the emergency room. Soon, his disease advanced and doctors recommended JourneyCare’s hospice program to manage his pain and symptoms.

Initially, I wasn’t really aware of what hospice entailed and I went to Google to investigate. At first, I was weary of hospice – like it was the end of the road and we were giving up. But soon I realized we were choosing the best care option for my father at this stage in his illness, as well as the best care for our whole family.

Because Dad’s symptoms were so severe, he spent most of time in hospice at JourneyCare’s Marshak Family Hospice CareCenter in Glenview, so he could have expert clinical care around-the-clock.

The first time I visited him there, I was so impressed with the beautiful, calming facility and found that my Dad was in very good spirits there.

During our visit, we even ventured out to the Waud Family Healing Garden and marveled at the beautiful setting. That was our last conversation before my Dad’s disease prevented his ability to speak.

In the following days, my mother, my brothers and I spent so much time with Dad at the CareCenter. His clinical team not only gave him the best care, but they went above and for our family, too. We could stay with our father as long as we wanted – even overnight – and the staff would often make sure we had eaten or just check how we were holding up.

All of this was so much different than the negative connotation I initially had of hospice. Even though it was such a difficult time for our family, it was wonderful that we did not have to worry about anything else but being there for Dad.

After he died, I felt inspired to support JourneyCare by attending fundraisers to benefit its nonprofit mission. I also hosted my own; this year, as the organizer of an annual wine mixer benefit in Chicago, my entire family and I chose for all proceeds to benefit JourneyCare’s programs for patients and their families.

We understand that the JourneyCare Foundation depends on the support of others – those of us who understand how important it is for patients and families facing serious illness to receive the very best care. And this season, we hope that you will join us in helping to change the face of serious illness, too. If my story can inspire giving and education, then I am always happy to share it.

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