Iris Francis Reunites With Family After 20 Years

Iris Francis is an 89 year old resident at Brookdale Niles in Illinois. Family has always come first for Iris, who is now the oldest member of her family. Her Wish of a Lifetime was to attend her family reunion in Scottsdale, AZ, where they celebrated her cousin Norma’s 70th birthday. It has been 15 years since she’d seen Norma, and up to 20 years since she’d seen some of her nieces, nephews, and other cousins who live outside of her home town of Chicago. 

Iris has a passion for giving back. For over 10 years, she read stories to sick children in the Children’s Ward of the Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago. She was involved with numerous cancer research organizations as well as many Jewish organizations, volunteering her time as a board member and fundraiser. Today, she is the Officer and Chairwoman of Resident Council at Brookdale Niles. 

Growing up, Iris’ household was always the hub of family gatherings in South Chicago. As time passed, Iris’ family members moved away from the city, and although she maintained long distance relationships with them, she was unable to visit them on a regular basis. She was also forced to deal with the unfortunate and sometimes unexpected passing of her closest family members, persevering with a positive attitude and support from her loved ones.

From October 27th to November 2nd, 2016, Iris and her daughter Sherry visited Scottsdale, AZ, where they reunited with cousins, nieces, nephews, and two generations of grandchildren to celebrate her cousin Norma’s 70th birthday. Iris hadn't seen some of her family members in 15-20 years.

Message from Joe Friedman, one of Iris' family members:

Wish of a Lifetime and Brookdale enabled Iris to partake in a most auspicious rendezvous of multi-generational family members in Scottsdale, Arizona. The occasion was a milestone birthday of Iris’ beloved cousin Norma. The family and closest friends of Norma convened from far away places such as California, Texas, Colorado, Illinois and even Sierra Leone, Africa. This harmonious convergence of loving family would not have been complete without the family’s matriarch Iris. 

Through the generosity of Wish of a Lifetime and Brookdale, Iris with the help of her daughter Sherry, was able to travel from Chicago to Scottsdale and spend many warm and nostalgic days at Norma’s multi-day birthday celebration. The events included a gourmet dinner at a country club location, a casual pizza party, and a scrumptious brunch. Iris enjoyed the leisurely time to reunite with her relatives, young and not so young, and she was received with the adulation of a rock star! It pleased Iris to introduce her daughter Sherry as well as son-in-law Paul and granddaughter Abby to so many family members.

That so many people from a variety of places could gather at this time for a joyous occasion is not an event that will be readily duplicated. For Iris this was indeed a wish of a lifetime!