Remembering Ana Frey, NP

Ana Frey, NP
Ana Frey, NP

In June of 2023, Care Ring lost one of its shining stars with the passing of Low-Cost Clinic Nurse Practitioner Ana Frey. Hailing originally from Ecuador and living in the United States for over two decades, Ana joined Care Ring in 2015, and was well-respected and beloved by both the staff and patients who had the honor to know her.

Our staff and Board of Directors have shared some of their memories and thoughts in remembrance of Ana's beautiful and caring spirit.

Kaaren Sailer, MD - Medical Director

Kaaren Sailer, Maria Medina, Ana Frey

I first met Ana when she joined Care Ring as a well-loved nurse in the Nurse-Family Partnership program. When she was transitioning to serve as a nurse practitioner in our Low-Cost Clinic, I was told that she went above and beyond for her clients and to keep an eye out to make sure that she took care of herself. Ana was passionate about providing health care to Latin American immigrants in the

Charlotte community. Ana’s patients felt not just well cared for, but also loved. Ana looked out for everyone around her – her patients, her co-workers, her family, and people she met in her community. One time when a patient needed to have someone accompany him to a procedure and couldn’t find a family member or friend who could go with him, Ana accompanied him.

Ana was humble, kind and generous. She was fiercely devoted to her family. She adored her son Alessandro and was so proud of the fine young man he was growing into.

Many people didn’t know that she worked as a urologist in Ecuador prior to moving to the US, where she went back to school to get her nursing degree and then nurse practitioner degree while working and parenting her son. Ana also served as a mentor for and was greatly appreciated by many Latin American trained health care workers who immigrated to the Charlotte area and were trying to pursue their health care careers here. She was very active in the Charlotte Latin American community, connecting with and assisting multiple organizations such as the Latin American Coalition and ENLACE.

Ana’s patients described her as an angel who helped them and cared for them. On a sweetness scale of 1-10, Ana Frey was a 100. For those who say everything happens for a reason, the only reason I can think of to explain Ana’s death is that God needed an extra angel to help do good in the world.

Ana Frey and Maria Medina
Ana Frey and Maria Medina
ana w grinch

Maria Medina - Family Nurse Practitioner, Low-Cost Clinic

Ana was FULL of life. She was the life of the party even when there wasn’t a party. She was always positive, always going above and beyond not only for her family, patients but colleagues as well. Our last conversation literally 1 week prior to the terrible news was via text. She was telling me how she would share/teach me anything and everything she would be learning during her time in Ecuador. She was a great colleague/teacher. She made me a better provider. I always called her my walking encyclopedia. She is dearly missed!! Her patients keep asking about her. She left a huge void in my heart!! All I can do is be a provider/person/ mother.

I truly did not realize how important she was to me until it was too late.

Georgette Caldwell - Nurse Case Manager

Ana always greeted me with a great big smile. I won’t forget her great big hug when she didn’t even know me. She really encouraged me to learn Spanish to be able to communicate better with the Hispanic population and even asked her brother to teach me. She cared so much about so many and it’s just so hard to say goodbye to someone as sweet as she was.

Anabel Paniagua-Doyle - Care Ring Board of Directors

A letter to Ana

A phone call took me by surprise and created disbelief and denial.  I was told you had left this earth the day prior.

I then knew, you were no longer in your cocoon!

My first instinct was to call you!  But I knew you were out of the country, so I did the best next thing, messaged you in the hopes you would reply “just kidding” with that big smile of yours.

I guess, I wanted you to know how much I will miss you.

Ana, my friend, colleague, and all-around loved patient and community advocate.  You always looked out for those you served, always going above and beyond!

You always had comforting and eloquent words, delivered with a pause of wisdom and thoughtfulness that inspired me to continue with the never-ending community work and service.

There were no limits to your generosity!  During a conversation you found out a mutual friend needed transportation and without hesitation or second thought, you gifted her your car.

At the beginning of COVID, I received one of your calls, looking for comfort, just in case something happened to you. And even though you wanted to continue talking, you cut our conversation short, asking me to call another friend whose child had gotten the disease, so she could also be comforted.

We had always talked about the rareness of true friendship, but you my Ana, were the living proof that it existed!  I dare to say, your friendship is ever lasting.

Your physical body may no longer be here with us, but your energy of kindness, doing the right thing because it’s the right thing to do, the wisdom that you imparted and the care you provided for others is eternal and with us every single day.

I will keep your memory in my heart and in my deeds. I know that when we meet again, we will fly together as happy butterflies always do!

Ana Frey and Jessica Gonzalez
Ana Frey and Jessica Gonzalez

Jessica Gonzalez, PharmD - QI & Evaluations Manager

As a professional, Ana always strived to figure out if there is anything else we can do within our feasible and legal ability to help patients with limited resources. She voiced concerns to improve the work environment and be part of the solution. I appreciated that she did utilize my open door policy to bring up any concerns at any time. Ana strived to learn the best way to complete tasks in EPIC, our patient navigation system.

She was an avid reader of the latest medical literature in Spanish and English to stay up to date on care practices and potential developments. Ana was open-minded; open to learn and pivot when changes occur. Ana was part of the “stay late” onsite group. When we wrapped up the day, we looked out for one another to get home safe. Ana was inclusive; everyone was always invited.

On a personal note, Ana loved talking about her family and her experiences in Cuba and Ecuador. I loved to talk about plants with her. My yucca recipe is how I initially met her at a staff meeting. It became a requested dish for her when I brought cooked food onsite. I will forever see my yucca and remember her. Asustar la yucca! Even though Ana expressed she killed plants, she was very knowledgeable and enjoyed talking about them. She would see her mom take care of various plants including exotic plants. I enjoyed talking about where different plants are from like her orchids from Cuba and long family member plants like their brain cactus. As my cubicle neighbor at the clinic, we were tias to each other’s plants. I will miss our nature conversations.

Ana Frey with Amy LeBlanc and Yahaira Martinez (standing)
Ana Frey with Amy LeBlanc and Yahaira Martinez (standing)
Ana's novelty coffee mug
Ana's novelty coffee mug
Citlaly Gomez and Ana Frey double birthday celebration
Citlaly Gomez and Ana Frey double birthday celebration

Yahaira Martinez - Clinical Medical Assistant, Low-Cost Clinic

What a fun celebration on this day we got to spend time together, take pictures and create memories as friend. I will always miss you Ana. (photo above, on left)

Alexa Chacon - Receptionist, Low-Cost Clinic

I've included a picture of a coffee mug (above, middle) that Ana used to use every day since the day I started working at Care Ring in October. She could not start her day without it and I had to locate it for her so many times; it was a fun a part of working with her. We used to hide it sometimes to get a laugh out of her. That is one of the many memories with her that I will never forget.

Citlaly Gomez - Registered Medical Assistant, Low-Cost Clinic

Ana and I were in a prank war that had been going on for months. We would hide each other’s phone and do prank calls on each other. This made our days are Care Ring so memorable and fun. I will always remember the clinic pranks that we bonded over. I have included a picture of a birthday celebration we had together. (photo above, on right)

Patti Hodge - Nurse Case Manager, Low-Cost Clinic

One of my dearest memories is how she always called me “my sweet girl.” She was always very fashionable as well. Her outfits to work every day were the best from head to toe.

Emilia Arispe - Registered Medical Assistant, Low-Cost Clinic

A letter to Ana:

I wanted to write you this letter to express my great love, admiration and gratitude for everything you did for me and for each person who had the joy of knowing you.

It is worth talking about your professional quality; without a doubt you were in charge of leaving our profession high, always working with care, dedication and love for others doing your work with true passion for helping others.

That is your legacy, to let the world know that in Latin America there are excellent medical professionals who not only see diseases, but see the person as an integral being who has a family, who suffers, who laughs, and who feels. You really knew the relief you feel when a helping hand gives you comfort and you always strived to do your best.

That was a great mission to fulfill in your passage through this earth. Now that you left before us to live on another plane, feel proud that you sowed in each of the beings you touched all that love for your neighbor and the satisfaction and pride that comes from helping others.

You left quickly friend, your mission in this world ended soon but you sowed a lot of love, you gave yourself completely, you did what you loved, you loved your family entirely, you taught a lot and you should feel satisfied and full of all the experiences lived.

Your family is proud to have had you in their lives. Now they will continue to water that little seed of love that you brought into the world, doing what corresponds to them with the tools that God has given them.

Your energy is still present and you will always be in our hearts.  Thank you Ana for allowing me to be in your life, thank you, thank you, thank you.

Jenny Lutz - Nurse Practitioner, Low-Cost Clinic

Jenny made a video to express her thoughts about Ana, which you can view by clicking the image here. It says, "Some people are a gift. They love others unconditionally. Their words lift the lives of others. They listen. They makes sacrifices for others. They do things that are difficult. They answer when you call. They catch people when they fall. Taking care of others is their job day after day. She took care of her patients as if they were her family. She took time to listen and care. She always made you laugh. Her smile was contagious. She always gave her all. She never met a stranger. Her hugs were the best! Reaching out to others, helping them in difficult times. You left us too soon. You will forever be loved, adored, and remembered with respect and fondness. Your life a gift, we experienced full of so much love and care. Loved and adored, forever and always, Ana Rita Frey. Thank you for bringing light and love to the world."

Ana Frey collage

Tchernavia Montgomery - CEO, Care Ring

Since Ana became a member of the Care Ring family in 2015, she has faithfully served our patients, providing them with a level of care that was nothing short of excellent. Her smile and generous spirit were her trademarks, as she brought joy to all those whom she encountered. It is now our job to carry on that spirit of compassion through the many ways in which we provide hope to the underserved. It is how we will honor her, always choosing to embrace others with love and kindness, as she did each day.

Thank you to all of our staff and to our Board member for sharing their thoughts and memories of Ana. She was also honored and celebrated at our June staff meeting, and our annual day of service was dedicated to her. She will be greatly missed, and we hold her beloved husband, son, and other family members in our thoughts as well. 

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