Meals Improve Energy, Health for This Tough Cookie

Jean is one tough cookie. She was a do-it-all rancher—serving as wrangler, cook for the ranch hands, and occasional veterinarian—in a remote part of eastern Washington. She rode her beloved Arabian horses in 100-mile trail riding competitions. She was a paramedic, driving a four-wheel-drive ambulance complete with a winch for getting out of deep snowdrifts. For a time, she worked in law enforcement with her husband, who passed away 25 years ago.

18-wheeler? No problem. Jean can drive one of those, too.

But that tough spirit and sense of fierce independence weren’t enough when Jean’s health started to fail, prompting her doctors to put her on hospice care. “It was scary,” said Jean, “but they explained it was a precaution.” A combination of factors—including debilitating arthritis, asthma, and a heart murmur—had limited her mobility. She wasn’t eating well. Her health was getting worse. Continue reading

Meals Help Erika Care for Son, Mom, and Herself

From the patio at her Colorado Springs condo, Erika has a stunning view of Pikes Peak. But she’s dreaming of her days on the beach back in Florida.

“I would take my jet ski out on my weekends and go out [on the water] and only come back to shore just to get more gas,” she remembers. “I would go from eight ‘til eight.”

Erika, who is originally from Panama, has been around the ocean for her entire life. Her move to Colorado changed that, but fortunately, she sees the beach in her near future. Her son, a high school senior and youth soccer coach, is looking at colleges in California and Florida. Erika’s doctors also say a warmer climate would be good for her health. Continue reading

Meet Scotty, Treasure Hunter and Cancer Survivor

Like other Project Angel Heart clients, Scotty is living with a life-threatening illness. Leukemia. And like other clients, he has a unique life story. The best part? It involves pirates and treasure.

Scotty was one of the divers who found the Whydah Gally, the only fully authenticated and positively identified pirate shipwreck ever recovered. Continue reading

Food Helps Client Improve Health After Being Homeless

A year ago, Rudy was living in a homeless shelter. The 68-year-old former insurance salesman had kidney disease, mental health issues, and a host of other serious health problems. And, as a self-described loner, he hated the shelters. “I couldn’t stand the crowds,” he said. One day, his shoes were stolen from under his bed while he slept. Another day it was his backpack, which contained his medications.

He left, used his social security check to buy a car, and made it his home for four cold, occasionally snowy months. Finally, he found a place he could afford. It’s tiny, there’s no water pressure, and the hot water is more lukewarm than hot, but Rudy doesn’t mind. “I’m happy with my shack,” he said. “It’s my own place that I can call home.” Continue reading

Meals Help Nine-Year Cancer Survivor Remain Independent

Roberta Olson doesn’t want to be a burden to her two adult children. But, as a 53-year-old living with stage 4 cancer, she finds herself in the unexpected position of relying on them for almost everything.

That’s one of the reasons the medically tailored meals delivered to her door by Project Angel Heart volunteers mean so much to her. “[The meals] help me feel a little bit independent,” she said. “I don’t have to rely on my kids for this. It’s one less thing they have to do.”

Roberta was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer in 2008. Four years later, her cancer had progressed to stage 4 and moved into her bones, weakening them and making it difficult for her to walk. “I couldn’t even stand in the kitchen long enough to cook,” said Roberta. Continue reading