Grateful Mother | Local Health Worker Goes the Extra Mile for Terminally Ill Patient



By Nona Fisher

A heartfelt, open letter to a heroic woman: Marlin Badillo. Marlin (pronounced Mar-Lyn’) is Activities Director at Camarillo Healthcare Center (CHC) in Camarillo, CA. 

My Daughter Denise Ragsdale is very ill with stage 4 cancer and is currently residing at CHC while fighting that illness with every ounce of her being and will. 

Denise is a very courageous Special Needs lady who sustained serious brain injury during birth, but has strived to be as “normal” as possible her entire life. She was liked and respected by both co-workers and staff at the Sheltered Workshop where she worked for over 30 years. And she made a respected place for herself in Special Olympics Track and Field and Bowling. Although she sustained setbacks, barriers and discrimination all of her life, she has always kept her self-worth and pleasant personality intact. But now her inner strength faces its most severe challenge, as Denise was diagnosed with cancer the day after Easter, 2019, and it is rapidly weakening and destabilizing her.

A few days ago while pushing her walker through the Activity Room at CHC Denise bumped into a table, lost her balance, fell and sat down hard but her torso continued to fall backwards.

Marlin Badillo threw herself on the floor, slid on her stomach with her arms and hands outstretched and caught Denise’s head before it hit the floor! 

Everyone who witnessed it was amazed at Marlin’s swift and dynamic reaction. Needless to say, she saved Denise from what could have been serious injury. Thanks to Marlin, Denise suffered only minor bruises.

Marlin, a dedicated professional, cares deeply for all patients who come daily to her activities. Her ideas to keep confined and often memory-impaired adults’ attention seems endless and are fun. Her patience is incredible. She and her staff spend as much time as needed with each individual who requires attention and yet manage to complete each activity.

Thankful and intrigued I asked Marlin to tell me about herself: 

“My childhood mostly consisted of being with grown adults, listening to their conversations and learning about life experiences. My curiosity to learn from them helped me to appreciate my life in this 3D world and to value  all the wisdom I have gained.

“My journey began early on as a young adult, straight out of high school. I was recommended by a family friend to work as an activities assistant at a Skilled Nursing Facility. It was that first year when I realized that God had been preparing me to be of service to others. To remember that everyone at some point lived a life with different interests, goals, ambitions and lifestyles of their choice but ultimately to understand that everyone had their own story. To understand that even when they grow older and are not physically, emotionally and socially able to do what they were use to I can somehow focus on improving their quality of life.

“I am currently an Activities Director in Camarillo Healthcare Center. I have my associates in Behavior Science and Bachelors in Communication disorders. Primarily, I acquired most of my experience at Berkeley East Convalescent Hospital as an activities assistance where I worked my way to becoming a lead coordinator. Over the course of 8 years of experience, I have observed and learned the meaning of quality of life and creating a safe and joyful environment for the residents in need. I have coordinated internal and external recreational activities as well as implementing new individualized care plans for residents. It is with great joy that I wake up every morning to improve the quality of life of others.”

I cannot thank, nor commend Marlin Badillo enough. Or, Camarillo Healthcare Center for its wonderful, caring and dedicated employees. It’s obvious CHC takes pride in hiring only the best!

Denise Ragsdale and caregiver Marlin Badillo

Nona Fisher from Sacramento, CA, was visiting here when her Daughter was diagnosed and hospitalized.

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2 Responses to Grateful Mother | Local Health Worker Goes the Extra Mile for Terminally Ill Patient

  1. Kay McKeown July 2, 2019 at 3:58 pm

    I was fortunate enough to have Denise as a roommate for short while and found her delightful, active, kind, and always able to stand up for herself.,She has her own
    lovely sense of style (very colorful) and is so well-mannered from the way her mother has raised her. She most certainly is a child of God who stays with her through every trial and she stays determined to get better! From her mouth to God’s ears! Nona Fisher is a very kind loving mother and gives Denise so much love and caring.. Marlin Badillo is also a very lovely, kind woman and we love her!

  2. Elizabeth Cheever July 2, 2019 at 2:07 am

    An incredible and inspiring story of two women of courage and faith rising far above what is expected from them. Denise is a champion and Marlin’s sudden action to rescue her when she fell is an example of God’s abundant grace and love.


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