HOMETOWN HERO: Delco nurse making it her mission to care for patients, feral cats

UPLAND, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- A sign outside of Crozer Chester Medical Center thanking healthcare workers is meant for people like Sharon Sponheimer, who's been a night shift nurse there for more than 20 years.

"She always seems to go above and beyond. I can remember her calling me when I had a boyfriend who drove in high school and she said, 'Hey can you go pick up a banana split for this patient I have? That's all they want right now,'" said her daughter, Kourtney Dix.

Sponheimer says the coronavirus pandemic may have changed a lot about the way she can interact with her patients, but she's trying to show that level of care even if it's behind a mask.

"You just keep trying to reassure them that everything is OK and everything's going to be OK," said Sponheimer.

When the mask comes off and Sponheimer comes home, she's not done taking care of others, even if her patients there are a little different.

For the past year, she's has been running a trap, neuter and release program in Delaware County. She says in Chester alone, there are 20,000 feral cats. She's helped 167 of them so far this year.

"For every one cat you spay, male or female, you're preventing 100 cats from being born," she said.

"Growing up she was always the parent who was like, 'No, do not bring that pet home!' And now she's like, 'Hey can you take these three cats I just picked up on the street the other day?''" said Dix.

Dix says while part of her was shocked her mom started working with animals, it also made a lot of sense because as a nurse she's always shown how everyone and everything deserves a little compassion.

"She is just always there and cares for them deeply," said Dix.

"It all really is kind of the same. You're just helping someone who needs help," said Sponheimer.
Copyright © 2020 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.