Grant Recipients

Medical Odyssey Brings Donor Full Circle

Three hospitals. Sixteen days. One very complicated medical emergency.

Nicole Thompson’s body was shutting down. Her face was numb. Her hands were tingling. She told her mother to prepare for the worst.

The doctors at two different hospitals were mystified. They couldn’t pinpoint the cause of her acute stomach pain and racing vital signs. Their one attempt to use medication to address the problem only worsened her condition by inducing kidney failure.

“I did nothing but sleep,” she recalled of her experience in the Intensive Care Unit. “I didn’t move. I didn’t open my eyes.”

Nicole was moved to a third and final hospital when her condition stabilized. Modern medicine settled on a diagnosis: an infected gall bladder. It was surgically removed, and her body began to heal.

Nearly two months after Nicole’s medical odyssey began, she returned to work as a Direct Support Professional with REM West Virginia, a partner of The MENTOR Network. She was stronger but not strong. And her lost wages left her concerned about her future.

“I was worried about my job. I was worried about my bills. I was worried about how I would eat,” she explained. “The only thing I could think of was Network Angels.”

Nicole was a donor to the program. She had set aside money each paycheck to help her fellow employees. Now she was the one who needed help.

Nicole applied for a grant to cover two months worth of rent, which she was awarded.

“I never ask for help,” said Nicole, who describes herself as “independent” and a “workaholic.” “But if it weren’t for Network Angels, I don’t know what I would have done.”