Nora has lived in Oregon for fifteen years and is the full-time care provider to her two children: Fatima, 4, and Jimena, 11.
“And they are the world to me,” she says, grinning. “They are my first thought when I wake up in the morning and my last thought in bed at night.”
Two years ago, Nora began to experience arthritis in her joints and hands. Within a year, the pain had grown so bad that even simple things like holding a pencil or driving a car had become too painful to manage on her own. While her friends and cousin were able to help her with essential tasks like grocery shopping, it was a different set of life changes that hit her the hardest.
“Jimena had to help me bathe and feed her little sister because I could no longer do it…[Fatima] would ask me to braid her hair and I would try but it hurt me so bad that I would get tears in my eyes and have to stop. Not to be able to do these small things a mother does, this broke my heart.”
As a person living undocumented in the United States, Nora was reluctant to seek medical care, fearing both the cost and exposure to immigration officials, but watching her arthritis negatively impact her life more and more each day eventually became too much for her and she sought help at a local clinic. Her care providers told her about a series of medications that could help end her pain, but the financial cost was prohibitive. Nora again felt on the brink of despair, until the clinic workers told her about Project Access NOW.
“Project Access NOW’s Pharmacy Bridge program helped me access the medicine I needed for [ a $4 a monthly copay],” says Nora. She took the final dose of her sixth-month treatment program the Friday before she appeared at our spring fundraising gala to tell the story of how Project Access NOW, Pharmacy Bridge, and Providence all helped her overcome her pain and once again do the things her arthritis had stolen from her.
“It is because of my treatment that I am able to stand before you now this evening,” Nora proudly told our event guests, “to take care of my family, and to, once again, braid my daughter’s hair. Thank you to my doctor, to Providence, and to Project Access NOW.’