Disease Drove Barry To Despair: St. Vincent De Paul Lifted His Spirits To New Heights

Barry and Paula were happily married, raising their young children when suddenly their world crashed around them. Paula was diagnosed with systemic lupus at the age of 31. "It ravaged her body," Barry said. "We tried very hard to keep her alive." 

Paula's treatment involved monthly trips to hospitals in Baltimore. Despite working three jobs at once, Barry had to declare bankruptcy twice in order to give Paula the medicine she needed. For 17 years, they struggled until, at age 48, Paula passed away. 

"We lost her and it was devastating," said Barry. "I had to declare bankruptcy to bury her." 

With a master's degree in psychiatric social work, Barry could not make ends meet while getting Paula her treatment. It seemed he had no other choice, so he turned to payday lenders. This began a devastating cycle of borrowing and repaying only to borrow again in order to make it to payday. 

When he retired after 40 years of working with the same company, he had no pension. 

Barry could not afford his medication. At times, he could not afford his rent. "I've had a multiplicity of ailments and medicines that keep me going," Barry said. 

"When I walked into St. Vincent de Paul, I can't describe the sense of futility and fear I had." 

When he walked out of St. Vincent de Paul, Barry said his spirits had been lifted to new heights. He now receives his medicine from the Charitable Pharmacy. He has received help with utility bills, and clothing vouchers for our thrift stores. 

Being an Orthodox Jewish man, Barry said he would never have guessed he would find the support he needed from an organization like St. Vincent de Paul. 

"St. Vincent de Paul is a faith-based agency and is funded largely by Catholic people," he said. "They do all their work in love and caring support regardless of who you are." 

"Without them," he said, "I could not have lived all this time."