Cheryl’s Story

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At the age of 45, Cheryl enrolled in college. She earned a bachelor’s degree and took her lifelong passion for helping others into the classroom where she dedicated 15 years to being a special education teacher in Denver Public Schools.

In 2018, though, Cheryl’s life took an unexpected turn. She was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, an inflammatory disorder that affects the lining of the joints and can lead to joint deformity and bone erosion. Initially, Cheryl experienced swelling and pain in her hands and feet. As her condition progressed, her mobility rapidly declined, and she was forced to give up her classroom.

The excruciating pain and swelling made even simple tasks, like gripping utensils and opening lids, nearly impossible.

Each day brought new struggles and more discomfort. Cheryl said, It seems like I just got worse all the time. Every day I would wake up with some new inability and pain.”

Living alone, Cheryl found it challenging to prepare meals. Even with adaptive utensils, it would take her most of the day just to prepare breakfast. From her normal weight of 140, she dropped to a mere 85 pounds.

That’s when Cheryl’s health care team referred her to Project Angel Heart.

Cheryl holding a meal bag
Cheryl receiving meals

Since receiving Project Angel Heart meals, Cheryl’s health and well-being have improved. She has gained—and maintained—12 pounds.

What’s more, Cheryl’s mornings have been transformed. She no longer spends hours upon hours in the kitchen or relies on quick fixes like cereal. Cheryl gets the essential nutrients she needs to start her day strong.

“The new breakfast is tasty and really good. I’ve gotten progressively better since I’ve been on it. I have more strength, feel better, and have less indigestion,” Cheryl said.

Cheryl eating the overnight oats
Cheryl eating the overnight oats

Her favorite meal is overnight oats. The oatmeal is soft enough that she can swallow it. But she also loves the fresh fruit that’s included. She says, “You give me blueberries in the overnight oats, and they’re just the best.”

Now, instead of waking up every day and noticing what she can’t do because of RA, Cheryl has started noticing small improvements to what she can do. Recently, while watering plants, she touched the soil and could feel moisture, something that hasn’t been possible in years.

“Since I’ve been on Project Angel Heart, things have looked better and gotten better,” she said with a smile on her face. “Food is actually healing.”

Will you help us provide nutritious breakfast meals to more clients like Cheryl? We have two easy ways for you to make a difference. Between now and July 31, make a gift OR start your own virtual breakfast drive with friends, family, or coworkers.