Because happy endings are not the same for everyone.
Michael loved to surf and ski and was an avid music fan and accomplished guitarist. He was employed and active, but a ruptured disc ended Michael’s physically demanding career and many of his adventurous outdoor interests. As a result, he made ends meet by doing odd jobs while caring for his ailing mother. Life became more and more difficult for Michael as he struggled with a debilitating injury and anxiety.
Michael became a patient at Western Tidewater Free Clinic (WTFC) in October, 2011 and in December was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Over the next three years, the cancer spread to his lungs and spine. Michael struggled through multiple surgeries and infections, and cycled through recovery and relapse during this time.
Michael and his sisters had become familiar faces at the Clinic as they tirelessly fought to stay ahead of the advancing cancer. Each battle brought an urgently renewed determination by WTFC staff and partner specialists to give Michael the best possible care and chance to survive.
Despite this commitment, Michael died this past July.
Michael’s family says he was actually saved by the Clinic. One sister said, “You gave Mike two years he wouldn’t have had otherwise. You never gave up on him.” Through their grief, the sisters found solace in the manner that Michael’s medical care was delivered during his final years. They wrote to the Clinic, “We believe you each have a halo and wings, and it was a pleasure to be touched by your kindness and healing grace.”
At Western Tidewater Free Clinic, not every success story looks the same and not all our endings are happy. Your donation helps us continue to offer high-quality health care, delivered with respect, kindness, and dignity. We could not cure Michael’s cancer - but we were able to surround him and his family with helping hands, health, and hope during one of life’s most challenging moments. Thanks to donors like you, Michael could say good-bye with grace.
We are grateful for your gift. It gives us the chance to immediately respond to the health care needs of our patients – a happy ending, indeed.
Want to help us create happy endings and grow a healthier community? Click here to donate today!
To see your gifts in action, please enjoy our Annual Reports:
2018 State of the Mission
2017 State of the Mission
2016 State of the Mission
2015 State of the Mission
2014 State of the Mission
2013 State of the Mission
2012 State of the Mission