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Fremont woman logs 15,000 hours caring for...

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Posted at 2:35 PM, Apr 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-27 15:35:10-04

Karen Keenan is one of the most popular caregivers with Fremont's home instead. It's not just because she puts a lot of time in with patients bonding, making friends. It's where she's come from that's brought her here.

Karen retired after working 20 years at the ConAgra mill in Fremont. Life, took a turn. Her husband James got cancer.

"It was very difficult. He had neck cancer. He had major surgery. We were at the Med Center for two months. Down there, they removed part of his jaw, his tongue, he lived on a feeding tube for five years."

But Keenan is quick to add it wasn't all bad.

"We readjusted and it was an experience," she said.

In the little bit of time you spend with Karen, you learn, that's how she is. There's not such thing as feeling sorry for yourself. You just re-adjust. So after her husband passed from cancer, she refused to let grief get the best of her.

"I had my family. I had my life."

She started a new career, working full time hours with Home Instead. To date, she's logged more than 15,000 hours caring for dementia and hospice patients.

"Karen epitomizes compassion," says owner Kim Henrichs Suey. "She's giving constantly. If I can be a little bit like her. I want her to take care of me, when I need help."

Sometimes, life makes you readjust. But if you're Karen Kennan, that's a experience. One that shapes your life, and the lives of those around you.

"It fulfills my life," Keenan said. " And some days I'm tired, but it's a good feeling. It's a good feeling."