Mary Johnson // Employee Emergency Fund

Mary-JohnsonFor more than six years, Mary Johnson has served employees, patients and visitors of Reid’s Café at Twelve Hundred.  Those who know her think very highly of her.

Mary has always had a heart to donate blood during Reid’s blood drives.  She understands the need and believes in the cause.  However, because Mary has difficulty with bruising, her husband, Joe, decided to step into her place and donate blood.

After several times of donating blood without a problem, Joe found himself back at Reid in March 2011 for another round.  This time, the staff realized he was iron deficient and recommended he see his primary care physician.  Like many, Joe didn’t initially take the warning seriously.  When he returned for the next blood drive, things had worsened.

“They again recommended he get his iron checked,” Mary said.  “They said his iron was so low it was life-threatening.”

Following a visit to Joe’s primary care physician, Dr. Kristen Jarvis, Joe had some tests and learned he had a bleeding ulcer and multiple myeloma – cancer of the bone.

“For most people, it takes forever to diagnose,” Mary said.  Fatigue is often the only symptom.  “Donating blood basically saved his life.”

Joe worked with Dr. Jarvis and Dr. Qin, Reid oncologist, but eventually was referred to Indianapolis for a stem cell transplant.  In November, Joe was in the Indianapolis hospital for 21 days for the procedure and recovery.

“It takes two months to see if they got all of the cancer,” said Mary.  “Joe’s was still growing, so we had to repeat it in February.”

Faith gave Joe and Mary the strength to get push through in spite of the bad news.  With God’s help, they would make it.

Joe and Mary’s finances were strained.  They had missed work, accumulated medical expenses, and traveled for treatment.  “That’s when someone told me about the Employee Emergency Fund,” Mary said.

After a short application process, Mary was approved for assistance through the Foundation’s fund, which is designated to help employees during an urgent, unexpected life event.  The gift helped pay for food, laundry and gas for Mary during Joe’s second stay in Indianapolis.

“It’s there when you need it,” Mary said.  “It was just one thing we didn’t have to worry about – not just for me, but for Joe too.”  Joe knew she had what she needed.

Fortunately, a page has turned.  Joe is now in remission.  He will continue treatment and monitoring indefinitely, but Joe and Mary are thankful for health; they are thankful for the blood drive staff; and they are thankful for the employees who donated and helped in a time of need.

“It was a blessing.”

We invite you to help employees like Mary through the unforeseen circumstances of life.  Whether travel expenses for a funeral or recovery from a fire, the Employee Emergency Fund is there for those who truly need help.