When Yvonne Robinson went into hospice patients' homes as a nursing assistant, the last thing she ever expected was that she'd be on the other side of the care.
But at age 73, with kidney failure and other ailments, and her future uncertain, Yvonne is now served by Agape Hospice.
Yvonne knows from experience giving home care to people that hospice doesn't have to mean that death is imminent.
"All I knew when hospice started with me is, I said to myself, 'I'm not ready yet,' " she said. "But I knew what hospice could do, so I welcomed them.
Never miss a local story.
"Hospice is all about making your life better."
Her husband of 54 years, Albert Robinson, also knew from his wife's previous work that hospice did great things for people that are more about quality of life than preparing for dying.
"Hospice doesn't mean the next word is die," he said.
Until hospice came in, Albert and one of the couple's grown daughters handled all of Yvonne's needs.
The couple is retired and on a fixed income, like most seniors who did nothing but work all their lives. There was no extra money for wheelchair ramps.
That meant Albert, 74, would have to carry her down the steps of their front stoop of their Rock Hill home, even lugging the motorized wheelchair in and out.
"It was a struggle for her, a struggle for me, a hard time for all of us," Albert said.
The Robinsons mentioned to hospice workers that a wheelchair ramp would be a great addition - even for as simple a task as getting Yvonne outside to plant flowers from her chair.
"Before I couldn't get around, I always had the most beautiful plants," Yvonne said.
Shelley Price, social worker at Agape Hospice, made call after call to try to find help to build a ramp.
"This ramp was the one thing that would make life easier for the whole family," Price said.
Lancaster County's YouthBuild, which teaches basic construction skills to young adults between 17 and 24, stepped in with the labor for the ramp. The program is part of Communities in Schools of Lancaster County.
Agape Hospice and Gethsemane Church - whose pastor, Bishop Billy Wilson, is Agape Hospice's chaplain - paid for materials that Lowe's Home Improvement furnished at a discount.
Pizza Hut and Papa John's donated pizzas for the young laborers.
So, on Tuesday and Wednesday, seven students - including two young ladies - led by teacher Daniel Reed measured and cut and built that ramp.
"This gives the students a chance to actually do a project, but do it for a good cause, too," said Reed, who is a carpenter by trade. "This shows them their work does matter to real people."
The students, also working in a dual program for general equivalency diplomas, took away from the work the hospice idea of giving back, too, calling the project community service.
"To actually help somebody with something they can use makes all the difference," said student Javakeo Catoe, 19.
The students learned about the rise and run of the slope of a ramp, put their math and physics to use, and started hammering and sawing.
"I am so thankful to all who helped," said Albert, the doting husband of 54 years.
And on Wednesday, right around noon - even though the second railing wasn't nailed on yet - Yvonne Robinson, former hospice certified nursing assistant, could wait no longer.
She came down that ramp in her motorized chair with a huge smile.
Just like all those times when she helped patients in hospice, only this time on the receiving end, Yvonne experienced what hospice can do to make daily life a little bit easier, a little bit better.
"Beautiful," she said. "All thanks to hospice and these young people."