Berta Ganaway and Marilyn Williams, members of St. Stephen First Martyr Church, Hinesville, are caregivers for their adult children with Down Syndrome. They founded a group called TLC for other families providing care to family members with health issues.

Families take care of each other

Originally Appeared in : 9822-10/25/18

They knew each other for a long time as they both have children with special needs. While volunteering at the the Adult Center in Hinesville, they discovered they are both Catholic and members of St. Stephen First Martyr Church in Hinesville. 


Marilyn Williams and Berta Ganaway are each caregivers for an adult child with Down Syndrome. They are parents first says Williams, but their children require extra care, and it can become difficult. Their conversations led them to form a group called Tender Loving Caregiving (TLC) 


Following Sunday Masses you will find them handing out literature along with coffee and doughnuts as they reach out to people who are caring for aging, ill or disabled family members. 


They are an informative resource for family caregivers. Keenly aware that participating in a scheduled group activity can be difficult for a caregiver the group is not all about meetings and get-togethers. “Just become a resource. So even if we are not necessarily meeting as a group on a regular basis," said Williams, "we’re on a regular basis giving up handouts, giving out flyers or information as we start.”


Williams said, “Caregivers can feel guilty when they question why they are burdened with the task of caring for a family member — its normal to feel resentment, frustration, love, loneliness, anxiety, and fear.” Ganaway said, “some people sob as they tell us their stories—it is cathartic to share with people who understand what you are going through. Everyone is at a different point in his or her caregiving role; we can share from our experiences.” As caregivers, they understand that running to the grocery store can feel like a vacation.


In recognition of November as National Caregivers Month, Twylia Reid, founder of Broken Wings, will be the keynote speaker at the Nov. 4 Caregivers event. 


The event, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. at St. Stephen First Marytr Church, 399 Woodland Drive, Hinesville, is public and open to all. Broken Wings is a nonprofit organization raising awareness about traumatic brain injuries. 


Ganaway hopes caregivers in the area from as far away as Savannah can form connections and gain resources.


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