Gifted Wishes: Green Bay woman surprised with her favorite game

Bernice Laurent plays her first game of Scrabble with her daughter on a new game board she...
Bernice Laurent plays her first game of Scrabble with her daughter on a new game board she received from Gifted Wishes.(WBAY)
Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 3:01 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - All this week, we are profiling a compassionate program offered to patients of Unity Hospice, and supported by generous community donors. The program is called Gifted Wishes, and the goal is simple: to grant hospice patients one final wish.

Today, it’s a Green Bay woman who can now play her favorite game like never before.

It was quite a few years ago Bernice Laurent found a game that was right up her alley.

“I like word games, and this was the ultimate,” says Bernice.

“She always played Scrabble whether anybody would play with her or not. When we first started playing she’d spot me 30-40 points just to get us to play,” says Bernice’s daughter, Amy Pontow.

Knowing how much Bernice loves Scrabble, Unity staff surprised Bernice with the Scrabble Giant Deluxe Edition -- with a wooden board that rotates on a lazy susan and tiles that are 50% larger and easier to read.

“Oh I don’t think I deserved that, but that’s beautiful. That’s more than I ever expected,” says Bernice with a smile.

“Jane, the social worker, she listens to everything Mom says, and she talks about Scrabble and wanting to play, and I thought how appropriate and how nice. They’ve taken such good care of Mom, and whatever I need, whatever I ask, they’re there,” says Pontow.

In her first game on her new Scrabble board, Bernice is out for blood.

“Oh sure, you know it wouldn’t be a game if it was not competitive, right?” Bernice says. Even trying to beat her daughter? “Oh sure! I probably will, too,” she chuckles.

With the game underway, Bernice is locked in.

But in the early going, she gets a little feisty.

“I haven’t picked out any good letters,” Bernice grumbles.

It doesn’t take long, though, for the tide to turn, and Bernice is firmly in the lead.

“Poet, that 3 is a double letter, double, so 6, 7, 8, 9,” exclaims Bernice, counting up her score.

A simple gifted wish that means the world to Bernice, who’s just a few months shy of turning 100.

“I’m blessed, that’s what it is really,” says Bernice.

If you would like to learn more about Unity’s Gifted Wishes, or how to donate to the program, visit

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