“So many beautiful things have happened in my life,” says 71-year-old Marina. Smile on her face, she proudly recalls raising her 4 sons in a hut with a thatched roof in her native Peru. “For money, my husband worked as a driver while I fried chickens for my neighbors. Rain leaked through our roof,” she says, “and I would pray to God, asking for a stronger roof.”
When Marina’s husband died in a car accident while their children were still teenagers, her family’s financial situation went from challenging to perilous. Marina saved the little she was still making and, with the help of a friend living in far-flung Gresham, OR, she saved enough to apply for a visa to travel to U.S.
Here, she quickly found work ironing and laundering table linens for a catering company. Though she missed her family terribly, Marina was proud to work and send money home. But in 2016, a growing pain in her abdomen made work hard.
“I didn’t want to go to the hospital because I feared being deported,” Marina explains, “but the pain grew worse. When I could bare it no more, I went to [Wallace Medical Concern].” The staff at Wallace examined Marina, found she had eczema and, critically, a potentially cancerous tumor. Wallace’s staff referred Marina to Project Access NOW.
As a Project Access NOW Classic client, Marina received tests, skin treatment, and, eventually, life-saving surgery with Providence Health & Services. Marina recalls coming out of surgery to find Dr. Lisa MccLuskey waiting at her bedside. When Dr. MccLuskey told Marina that she was going to be fine, Marina began to cry, “but not from sadness — from joy!
“I am so grateful to God, Providence, and Project Access NOW,” Marina says, “because of you I am alive today and able to see my family grow.”
Asked about her sons, now grown with children of their own, she explains that with the money she has sent home, her family now lives in a beautiful new house in Peru. “It has a roof,” she says, still smiling, “a good, strong roof, to keep the rain out. And it is because of you, the angels of Project Access NOW. Thank you. My family and I are grateful.”