Standing in her kitchen, Gabrielle* looked down at her foot and winced. The cut on her foot still hadn’t healed, despite her best efforts. She’d bandaged it over and over for weeks and it still wasn’t healing . . . and she needed to be on her feet at her job as a checker at a grocery store.
She was 18. Though she had officially moved out at 17, the truth is that Gabrielle had been taking care of herself for a very long time. So she did what she thought best: she took a knife and heated it up over the stove. After taking a deep breath, she used the hot knife to close the wound.
Thinking back, Gabrielle says, “I know that sounds dramatic, but that was just how I approached things. I was just used to figuring things out for myself.”
Now 25, Gabrielle sounds almost matter-of-fact when she talks about her childhood. From her earliest years, her life was shaped by her parents’ alcoholism and domestic violence. At age 4, she was making her own breakfasts. By age 5, she was in foster care.
She eventually returned to her mother’s home, but the same chaos was waiting . . .
Life remained challenging. Gabrielle managed to get good grades through her first 2 years of high school, but life at home began to unravel. Frequent fights with her mother, who still wasn’t sober, were taking an unimaginable toll. Her grades were starting to slip.
“I decided to move out on my own and finish my diploma at community college. Things were better, but I learned quickly how expensive it is. ”
A health problem she couldn’t fix
After earning her diploma, Gabrielle started to complete her prerequisites for nursing school and was thriving, despite working long hours at her job.
But last year, Gabrielle began to have symptoms that were very similar to what her older sister had experienced shortly before being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Gabrielle had strange muscle sensations. She went blind in one eye for a short period of time — exactly like her sister had.
She was terrified and overwhelmed. And she had no idea where to turn. She called a local clinic, but couldn’t afford the $250 she would be charged to see a doctor. Her anxiety began to grow. She was close to entering her nursing program, but now all of those dreams seemed very far away.
Thankfully, someone at school handed Gabrielle a flyer for PSCC’s Edmonds Mobile Medical Clinic!
“I was feeling like no one cared. And if no one cared, then why should I? I was so close to giving up. But because they cared, so did I.”
A friendly face
Right when she arrived, Gabrielle met one of our faithful volunteers named Lynn. “I talked with Lynn and couldn’t believe how nice she was. I mean, I sort of didn’t trust her at first because I thought there was no way someone could smile like that all the time!”
But Gabrielle soon realized that at PSCC, she wasn’t just a patient or a number — she was a person. Everyone she came in contact with seemed to truly care about her. The nurse was patient and kind. The doctor took his time and asked lots of questions. Gabrielle left that appointment with a referral for an MRI and some blood work. She couldn’t believe it!
All tests came back normal, praise God! And though Gabrielle is still a little nervous about those scary symptoms, she knows she can turn to PSCC for help and a listening ear anytime. Best of all, Gabrielle is able to focus on her nursing program without worrying if her own health is in jeopardy.
She’s grateful to people like you, who reached out to her when she needed help the most . . . and she plans to give back by volunteering with us when her nursing program is complete!
Thank you for making a difference in this resilient young woman’s life. Click here to send a generous gift today to help more patients like Gabrielle.