A Heart Condition
Becoming a caregiver for her husband not only changed Jessica Daly’s life, but also opened her world to a new ministry
Never in her wildest dreams did Jessica Daly believe she would be spoon-feeding meals to her 28-year-old husband only six years into their marriage. Then again, never did she imagine that God would use her experience as a caregiver as a springboard for a ministry to countless others in similar situations who are often forgotten.
When Brian Daly was diagnosed with congestive cardiomyopathy—an ongoing disease process that damages the muscle wall of the heart’s lower chambers—Jessica Daly was forced to become his caregiver, attending to almost his every need while also balancing a career. Most of Brian’s heart muscles had ceased to function, dropping to a rate as low as 5 percent. Doctors said the only hope for Brian’s survival was him undergoing a heart transplant.
Through Jessica’s dedication and attention to her husband—and much prayer from the Dalys and hundreds of others—Brian’s heart has since rejuvenated to 40 percent function, without any transplant. Jessica said Brian’s doctors have called him a “walking miracle.”
“Without Jessica, I wouldn’t be alive,” Brian says. “She has simply been amazing. She married me for better or for worse, for sickness and health. Well, we’ve experienced worse and sickness. The devil was very hard on Jessica, but I’m so grateful to the Lord that Jessica stuck with me and that He gave me such a wonderful wife.”
During Brian’s recovery, Jessica discovered the many challenges caregivers face daily. Because her husband couldn’t work, Jessica kept her job as a schoolteacher to put food on the table as they adjusted to a loss of more than $50,000 in income. Yet through their experiences, Jessica developed a deep-seeded appreciation for what caregivers go through, prompting her to start My Daly Outreach. The ministry is a support system for the caregivers themselves and their need for encouragement.
“You never know how many hats you have to wear until you become a caregiver,” says Jessica, who lives in Goldsboro, N.C., with Brian and their daughter, Taylor. “People asked me why I didn’t stay home with Brian full-time. It’s because I had to keep our insurance and my salary. That was really hard. When I would go to work, my cellphone would ring 10 times a day. We had some scares.
“God called us into this ministry, and He has given us the resources to do it. When people hear about someone who is sick and needs to be cared for, they usually think about the patient. But what about the caregiver? They have a very difficult job and really get very little support. That’s what My Daly Outreach is all about.”
The Dalys hosted their first caregivers’ conference, “Called to Care,” at the First Pentecostal Holiness Church of Goldsboro this summer, and Jessica’s speaking invitations are increasing. They’ve also created a website,MyDalyOutreach.com, where caregivers can share stories, get tips and receive encouragement to keep going when they feel like giving up.
“I’ve been there and God has shown me so many things,” Jessica says. “I’m so appreciative of what caregivers have to go through. I simply wanted to give back to the Lord because I have been blessed so much through this.”
—Shawn A. Akers - Charisma Magazine