May 22, 2016

Caring for the Whole Person

By Sylvia Anderson

The fact that Simon can still walk at 58 is a miracle.

“The doctors told me I’d be flat on my back by the time I was 25,” he says.

Born with a rare bone disorder called Engelmann disease, Simon’s bones grow much faster than the average person, causing a host of health issues and a lot of pain.

For decades, Simon tried to live life as normally as he could. He worked hard until the pain became more than he could bear. Then he had to quit the job he’d held for over 13 years.

He stayed with friends trying to save money, but before he could save enough to afford first and last month’s rent on his own apartment, they would ask him to leave.

That’s when he ended up homeless.

By the time he came to us, Simon’s growing bones had caused sores up and down his legs.

“I have pain all the time, but it’s getting greater. It’s passing tolerance. I have built tolerance for it all these years,” Simon says. “It’s progressed to a point where I have to do something.”

Simon’s disease is rare, but his circumstances aren’t. With the cost of healthcare, many people working low-paying jobs choose not to go to the doctor until things have gotten so bad that they need immediate assistance. We see this with our homeless neighbors all the time.

Things have gotten better, but preventative healthcare still takes a backseat to more pressing needs like food and shelter. That means that it’s not uncommon for people living in poverty to have a cold turn into pneumonia or high blood pressure lead to a stroke.

That’s one of the reasons that Everett Gospel Mission strives to get people to the doctor as soon as we become aware of any health issues. By addressing the ailment before it becomes a crisis, we have the best chance of helping people live their most abundant life. Once their health is under control we can help them with savings plans, job skills training and locating affordable housing.

Because of friends like you, we are able to minister to every part of a person – body, mind and soul. Thank you for caring about people like Simon.