By Beth Fiorello, PR Intern, Summer 2012
In front of the charming apartment sits a snazzy red electric scooter, a telling glimpse of who you are about to meet. Inside is a refined man with a welcoming smile and gentle personality. Meet Darrin, a 50 year-old Project Angel Heart client. Stepping into his apartment, you immediately notice that culture oozes from every corner. Art, antiques, flowers and music adorn every space. Each article tells a story of the life he once led.
In addition to other health issues, Darrin has been living with pancreatitis, a disease that ravages the digestive systems and makes it nearly impossible to intake the proper amount of calories, for the past four years. “The meals are very adaptable to my needs and they allow me to eat different foods without aggravating my condition. And they are all just so good!” says Darrin.
A Project Angel Heart client since January 2012, both Darrin and his doctors were ecstatic with the results of his nutritious new diet. Within six weeks of receiving his meals, Darrin gained ten pounds! The extra weight has given him a little more strength to do the things he once loved.
Darrin caught the traveling bug early and spent most of his life exploring new places. In two year’s time he visited every county seat in Colorado and had his picture taken. “When it comes to Colorado, in the words of the great Johnny Cash, ‘I’ve been everywhere, man’.” The traveling has stopped since he got sick. However, he appreciates the small things, like his weekly jaunts to the park in his scooter. “Now that I can’t travel anymore my hobby is getting out of the house to enjoy the sunshine and interact with other people,” Darrin explains. “Without Project Angel Heart meals I wouldn’t even have the strength to do that.”
Beyond the taste and variety, Darrin highlights that the greatest advantage of the meals is the convenience. Pancreatitis prohibits him from eating more than a couple ounces of food at a time and one misstep can easily turn into a full-blown pancreatic attack. Project Angel Heart meals allow Darrin to eat a little bit here and there, in the small window he has between medications.
Project Angel Heart meals have also allowed Darrin to retain a bit of culture to which he is accustomed. “When I got sick I lost any culture I once had, but Project Angel Heart has brought a bit of that back. When I eat my meals I choose to sit down with my fine silverware and a cloth napkin.” The occasional opportunity to feel sophisticated helps him momentarily forget his illness.
“Project Angel Heart has been my saving grace – without them I wouldn’t be able get the calories and nutrition I need to survive,” explains Darrin. “For someone who thought they would never be in need, I am so grateful for every vegetable chopped by volunteers and every dollar donated; it is worth ten times as much.”