November is National Caregivers Month, a time to celebrate and honor family caregivers all over the country. It is also a chance to inform and raise awareness for caregiving issues.
On Florida A&M University’s campus, Raymond Bellamy, an academic adviser for the College of Agriculture & Food Sciences, has been a caregiver for his 96-year-old mother for years.
Before he began working at FAMU and taking care of his mother, Bellamy attended the University of Miami where he played football on a scholarship, Bellamy made history by becoming the first African American athlete in the Southeast to receive a scholarship from a predominantly white institution. After his time at UM, Bellamy played professional football for the New York Jets and the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League.
In 2012 he was inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame and recently was honored with the inaugural Miami Athletics Trailblazer Award.
Bellamy says that he had no idea that one day he would be a caregiver for his mother, but he was willing to do whatever he needed to do to make sure his mother was OK.
His sister, who was his mother’s primary caregiver at the time, was feeling overwhelmed.
“I just felt like I had to make a contribution toward helping her,” Bellamy said.
Although Bellamy has the resources to hire as much help as his mother could need, he prefers to take care of her himself because he knows that she is getting the proper care if he is caring for her.
“The way he cares for his mother is amazing, especially seeing how he has the money to hire people to take care of her or put her in a home,” Neil James, as associate dean for academic programs in CAFS, said.
Bellamy is very grateful to FAMU for being so understanding about his caregiving situation with his mother. Bellamy says that his supervisors were proud to see him step up and take on the extra responsibility of taking care of his mother. Bellamy says while people feel like what he is doing is a great thing, he feels like it is the right thing that he is doing.
“My mom raised me for 18 years so if I can give her18 more I’ll be good,” Bellamy said.