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Helping Neighbors Starts at Home

Phyllis said simply and powerfully, “Thank you!”

March 2017

On a January night 46 years ago, Phyllis walked into a bar in the Central West End and met a guy named Bob. He told her that night that he would marry her. Phyllis had a feeling he was right. Five months later, they were engaged.

On the afternoon of their November wedding, Bob got into a car accident with his mother in the car. They were injured but still made it to the 7 p.m. wedding for a marriage that would last 45 years.

Phyllis was raised Catholic, and Bob made the decision to convert to Catholicism when he was 50 years old, after listening to a homily at Mass. They raised two children together, and have five grandchildren. They donated to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul because they believed their lives had many blessings for which to be thankful. They never thought they would be the ones to need help.

Several years ago, Bob had a routine colonoscopy. The test showed an abnormality. From that day forward, Bob had multiple surgeries, infections, and other diagnoses. Last year, he had eight surgeries during a 160-day period and, of course, he couldn’t work. Said Phyllis, “Our income was cut in half, but our expenses soared because, at one point, Bob was on 20 medications a day. Not all were covered by insurance or Medicare, and not all his medical equipment and procedures were completely covered either. And the paperwork and processes were overwhelming. It’s tough enough to care for someone who is so sick, but to have to figure out how to pay for all the medication was exhausting.”

Phyllis had heard about SVdP’s pharmaceutical program from someone at St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, her parish. She reached out to them and they helped pay for some of Bob’s medical expenses.  “I’m so grateful that they had this program, that they had the vision and the funds to come up with this. It’s remarkable.”

Bob and Phyllis could play with their grandchildren which, she believes, kept him going. So did the comfort of knowing that there were people, like you, who cared enough to give, which helped alleviate some of the stress that comes with caring for someone who is so sick.

Bob lost his battle March 9, 2016 and, for the first time in more than four decades, Phyllis is alone in the house where they raised their children together. This last Christmas was her first without Bob. But she feels a sense of relief knowing he left behind such wonderful memories. Because of you, she can relish those rather than spending her time paying off medical bills long after he is gone. Phyllis said simply and powerfully, “Thank you!”

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