Authors Sheila Warnock and the late Cappy Capossela were best friends long before they developed Share The Care™. For years, they worked together in advertising as a creative team developing print and television campaigns for both men and women’s fragrances.
In January 2002, eight years after STC was first published, something unthinkable happened. Both Cappy and her Dad were diagnosed with malignant brain tumors. While her mother and brother organized the care of her father in their hometown, Sheila rushed to put together a STC meeting with 33 of Cappy’s friends in New York City– later dubbed “Cappy’s Brain Trust.”
Things got increasingly stressful following Cappy’s surgery to have her tumor de-bulked. In the weeks that followed she was rendered totally helpless and lost her abilities to speak, write, walk, and even move without the help of her group, and wonderful live-in nurses’ aide.
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Out of desperation, the Brain Trust created a special approach to handling the most critical jobs. Besides our regular assignments, each person took on a “Specialist Captain” role that was never shared. (For example: a trusted friend became the “Financial Captain” whose special responsibility was to manage Cappy’s funds and pay her bills. Working this way assured that nothing important in Cappy’s life would fall through the cracks as her illness continued to advance at a frightening pace
Ten months later and within 12 hours of each other, the Capossela family and the Brain Trust lost both Cappy and her Dad.
Sheila recalls telling Cappy that she was going to take STC and get it out there in a big way. After being a primary caregiver three times (and a free-floater for another friend with ALS.) it was pretty clear that STC was to be Sheila’s life’s mission.
In 2003, she started the paperwork and by the next summer we had our 501c3 for ShareTheCaregiving and the rest is history.
We think Cappy would be very pleased.
Cappy was a graduate of Harpur College in New York State and had a long and very successful career at several top New York City Advertising Agencies as a Copywriter and Creative Director.
She was an avid ballroom dance competitor, a talented sumei painter and a jingle writer. She loved to garden on her apartment terrace and at her summerhouse in Fair Harbor, Fire Island. Her real passion, however, was creating Broadway musicals. She was in the midst of finishing her second musical, “The Courtesan”, when she died.
Today, Cappy lives in the heart of her family and friends. We will never forget her humor, incredible talents, endless enthusiasm and bright energy. She continues to be remembered by caregivers everywhere for putting all her talents to work co-authoring Share The Care.
SUKIE MILLER, Ph.D. – A TRIBUTE
March 15, 1988 will forever be etched into my memory. It was that cold, windy night when the seed, later to bloom into a comprehensive caregiving model, was planted at an emergency meeting for a friend in the office of Dr. Sukie Miller.
Dr. Miller had strongly urged her patient, Susan Farrow, to reach out past her emotional comfort zone and ask her friends for help. Susan was a divorced, working mom with two teens and a painful bone cancer. To make matters worse she had no family nearby. However, by bringing what was a diverse bunch of friends together for some honest dialogue, we were able to plunge into action the very next morning.
We owe a huge debt to the insight, wisdom, and brilliance of Dr. Miller who truly understood the power of “group.” The 12 of us who attended that meeting went on to prove her right by supporting our friend in every way imaginable until she died nearly four years later. And we managed it without any one getting stuck doing too much. And best of all, we were bonded forever by this challenging yet significant life experience that resulted in us becoming widely known as “Susan’s Funny Family.”
Later, Dr. Miller was the chief cheerleader when Cappy Capossela and I decided to document our systems into a handbook that others could follow to create a “caregiving family” of their own. Dr. Miller offered her guidance and gifted us with the eloquent FORWARD to Share The Care, first published in 1995.
Then, out of the blue, in early 2002 Cappy was stricken with a brain tumor and needed her own Share The Care group. Following Cappy’s death later that year, Dr. Miller again provided her enormous enthusiasm and encouragement for my decision to make Share The Care more widely known by founding our organization. And, as a member of our Board of Advisors for the last 10 years, she was always generous with her suggestions.
Dr. Sukie Miller was a profound influence in my life. I think it was her fearless and optimistic outlook that will be most treasured by me and surely by so many others in different parts of the world whose lives she touched. We will all miss this vivacious, and extraordinary woman with so many far-reaching legacies.
We lost Dr. Miller in December 2013.
SUKIE MILLER, Ph.D. was an early director of Esalen Institute, was a member of the Board of the Jung Institute of San Francisco and the Board of Medical Quality Assurance, the licensing board for the State of California. She had been a frequent consultant to Cancer and Social Action programs in Brazil.
In 1972 she founded and directed the pioneering Institute for the Study of Humanistic Medicine. One of the first researchers to study the cross cultural dimensions and implications of beliefs of the Afterdeath, her books Finding Hope When a Child Dies and After Death; How People Around the World Map the Journey After Life are published by Simon and Schuster.
Dr. Miller lived for years in Sao Paulo, Brazil where she continued to see clients with chronic and terminal diseases and worked extensively with groups.