A Lifelong History of Caregiving
As Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health’s first volunteer, Murlin Hampton was on duty at the lobby desk on Monday, July 13, 2009, when the first patient arrived. Keep Memory Alive Chairman and Founder Larry Ruvo and Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman joined her in welcoming and escorting the patient up in the elevator to see the doctor. When the patient completed his appointment, Mrs. Hampton presented him with a flower and thanked him for visiting — a tradition that hasn’t changed.
Mrs. Hampton says many things haven’t changed since day one, including positive feedback from patients and families on the building’s unique architecture. Nor has her own commitment to brain health wavered. She remains a vocal advocate for staying physically and mentally active and socially engaged.
A licensed practical nurse from 1955 to 2006, Mrs. Hampton spent the last 26 years of her career at University Medical Center in Las Vegas, working with patients who had experienced strokes and brain and spine injuries. Following retirement, she began volunteering three times a week at Valley Hospital, again helping those with brain injury, as well as lending her nursing skills to the Southern Nevada Health District as a volunteer for health screening events. In addition, she volunteered at the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.
“I like making patients smile by talking about something that relates to their generation and might jog their memory,” says Mrs. Hampton.
A Jamaican native who immigrated to New York at age eight, Mrs. Hampton developed this gift and passion at a young age, spending her summers as a live-in babysitter starting at age 11.
“I would take the train by myself from New York City to Connecticut, where I spent six summers caring for the children of Flash Gordon’s creator, cartoonist Alex Raymond,” she explains. She loved the challenge of taking care of people and thought nursing would be a good next step.
More recently, as the live-in caregiver for her sister, who had Parkinson’s disease, Mrs. Hampton had direct family experience with what happens when brain health declines, and how the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health can help. Her sister was under the care of the center’s movement disorders team until she passed away on Christmas Day 2015.
At 82, Mrs. Hampton is going strong: “Staying active through volunteering keeps me abreast of developments in brain health. I want to know more about what will help people.”
If you’re interested in volunteering at the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, contact Karen Mariano at 702. 331.7046.
Murlin with Muhammad Ali
Caption: Murlin Hampton welcomes the late Muhammad Ali, one of the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health’s more famous visitors.