My faith provides a calm in the face of any storm. And there have been some awfully powerful storms. I had a great career in banking. Then I went through a difficult divorce. Shortly after, I had a bad infection in my leg which developed into bone cancer. I ran out of money quickly.
My friends kept me a afloat a little while, but once I found out I was Stage 3, I felt guilty taking money from my friends’ kids. So I said, ‘It’s time to start my homeless adventure’ as I call it.
Right now, I have nothing. I have the clothes on my back and a coat. When my belt broke, I couldn’t keep my pants up because I’ve lost 160 pounds since the start of my cancer. Someone gave me their belt right off their waist, a volunteer serving dinner.
The thing I like most about City Gospel Mission, aside from the meals and staff, which are great, are the classes – from learning Scripture to everyday things. People leave here with tools.
I’m fighting to get Social Security Disability while waiting to have surgery. I need to be infection-free for a year before they can do it. 60 percent of my femur needs replaced. Also, I need a custom knee replacement. And 1/3 of my lung has to go because it metastasized. There is a chance I’ll walk again, but it’ll take 3 or 4 years. We need to get rid of the cancer. I’ve had 14 months of chemo. Getting up at 4:30 in the morning and taking 4 buses to get there. After the surgery, I will need another year.
Right now, I have 2-3 years to live. If I get the surgery in time and go a year cancer-free, then I have a chance at 15-20 more years. But my odds of that happening, the doctors quit giving me numbers when it dropped below 25 percent. So I’m in a therapy that’s helping me be in an emotional place where I’m at peace with dying. And helping me understand that if I do end up living, it’ll be like winning the lottery.
I had everything and was empty, and now have nothing and I couldn’t be happier. If that’s not God, I don’t know what is. I know that sounds strange, but through everything, I’ve learned the difference between being a victim and a survivor. I know this isn’t about actually what’s happening. It’s an opportunity to grow spiritually and do something for God. I’m surrounded by a lot of people at the shelter who need help. I know now telling my story is the way to do that.
Helping people is absolutely the right thing to do if you have the opportunity to do so, and helping here is absolutely the right place to do it. This really is a great place.
City Gospel Mission is a 501 (c)(3) organization. Contributions are tax-deductible in accordance with IRS rules and regulations.