A Special Christmas

You make the difference

You may not know the immense impact that your support has on those who seek help at His Hands. Some days your help truly makes the difference between life and death. As you spend time with loved ones this holiday season, I am blessed to tell you the story of Jennifer. This Christmas season will be very special to Jennifer, her daughter and mother because she almost wasn’t here to celebrate it.

Let’s go back a few months… Jennifer was a healthy, single mom with a steady job. She worked hard to care for her daughter and beloved pets. Like many in our community, she lives paycheck to paycheck. Although her career was personally rewarding, working as an administrative assistant in a home healthcare company serving the elderly and disabled, she lacked health insurance. Jennifer had a choice to pay her mortgage and buy groceries or purchase health insurance. She banked on the fact that she was rarely ill and did not purchase insurance, a decision she now regrets, but at the time, felt it was what she needed to do.

Jennifer shared that her mom had always told her, “your good luck streak of never getting sick will run out someday.” That day came in February of this year. The always healthy 38-year-old felt awful. Pain throughout her entire body, everything hurt even her fingertips. The pain was indescribable. Jennifer normally took her dogs out for a jog in the morning and in the evening. Now, she was too exhausted to go on a walk, let alone jog. She barely made it through the workday and spent every weekend in bed.

Her illness continued for weeks until her long-time colleagues, seeing her face gray from sickness and spunky personality missing, begged her to go to the doctor. Finally, exasperated and getting sicker each day, she relented. Jennifer looked online for a health clinic that could help her and felt drawn to His Hands. The next morning she waited outside our doors until the clinic opened. While talking to the receptionist, the strong, independent woman broke down in tears. She didn’t know what to do. She saw our caregivers, who quickly referred her to a local physician to find out what was happening with her body. Before she left the office, staff gathered to pray with her for peace and for wisdom for the physician.

Jennifer was very, very ill. The local physician referred her to the emergency room, where she was admitted and later transferred to the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics to see a specialist. Possible diagnoses ranged from terminal cancer to an unknown infection. After much time, it was discovered that her body was becoming septic. You see, back on that day in February, Jennifer’s appendix had burst unbeknownst to her. No wonder everything hurt! By God’s grace, her body had not been overtaken by the poison from her burst appendix and had held the infection in a mass that formed in her stomach. To increase the chances her body would make it through surgery, Jennifer needed weeks of daily IV infusions to ward off the infection. During this time, His Hands staff regularly checked in on Jennifer and prayed with her. On the morning of her surgery, the clinic staff again prayed for Jennifer and her surgeon as he prepared to remove the football-sized mass from her abdomen. Her recovery had finally begun.

As Jennifer — now healthy and full of life — was talking with our caregivers, who had prayed over her for those many months, they asked her what she believes would have happened if she had not walked through the doors at His Hands?

“I probably would have gone home and slept and continued on until one day I didn’t wake up,” she said with tears in her eyes. “His Hands saved my life. You gave me the help that I needed and led me in the right direction. You were truly concerned for me. You gave me the strength that I needed to go on when I didn’t have any left.”

Jennifer’s restored health is the real work, His work, that happens at His Hands each and every day because of you. Because of your generosity, single moms like Jennifer have a place to turn to in their time of need. Because of you Jennifer is here today. Truly. She can hug her mother and daughter, who are her best friends, and spend mornings jogging with her dogs. Because of you, Jennifer’s mom did not have to bury two children in less than a year, having lost Jennifer’s brother just a few months prior in a tragic car accident. Because of you, His Hands can continue to serve our community into 2019 and beyond.

As we gather to celebrate this blessed season with those we hold dear, I humbly ask you to consider a donation below to ensure we will be able to help the next single mom living paycheck to paycheck and unable to access healthcare. Our gratitude can be found in the healthy smiles of each person we are able to serve through your generosity.

With sincere thanks,
Dr. Jim Bell
Dr. Jim Bell
Medical Director

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