Charitable Pharmacy Issues More Than Medicine, Helps Create Healthy Lifestyle Changes

Losing a spouse is one of life’s greatest tragedies, and people deal with the massive grief in different ways. For Betty, eating was her antidote.

“I was trying to use food to stuff down everything else,” she says. While she was trying to deal with one issue, little did she realize it was quietly creating another. She gained weight as a result of her grief-eating habits, which, in turn, spurred the onset of Type 2 diabetes.

Over the course of several years, her A1C levels jumped to a whopping 13 percent (compared to 7 percent for typical diabetic patients), putting Betty at a severe risk for heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, and more.

Even though she was taking insulin, she was not careful about her diet. Her doctor switched her to a more effective medicine, but that only created another problem: She could no longer afford her prescription.

She and her doctor exhausted every option, trying to find a way to afford the medicine. Then Betty found the help she needed at the St. Vincent de Paul Charitable Pharmacy. “When I started coming to the pharmacy, everyone was so nice to me,” she says. “I had gained all this weight and my diabetes was out of control. I felt this was just self-inflicted, that I did this to myself. They were just so good at not just providing medications for me, but giving me encouragement. They were kind of my cheerleaders.”

Betty says knowing that she was blessed with the medication she needed and having the encouragement from the pharmacy staff empowered her to change her lifestyle. She began eating healthier, and between diet and regular adherence to her medication, her A1C levels dropped to 7 percent within six months.

“For every point that A1C goes down, it translates into about a 40 percent risk reduction in cardiovascular disease,” says Mike Espel, Director of the Charitable Pharmacy.

Betty says she used to be afraid to go to bed at night, worried her sugars would drop and she’d never wake up. Now a patient at the pharmacy for two years, she says she is grateful for the care she has been given.

“I’m a strong believer. I’m a Christian woman, so I believe in helping others and receiving this help has just been… it’s been life changing for me, it really has been life changing for me to be able to get my medication here.”

Betty is the mother of three and grandmother of four. She volunteers in the food pantry at her church and is grateful for the blessing of receiving as well as the ability to give to others. “There’s nothing more gratifying than being able to help others,” she says.

You can help Betty and many others with stories like hers. For a limited time, your donation to the Charitable Pharmacy will be doubled up to $5,000!

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