Crohn’s Disease Didn’t Change His Dreams, Thanks to Project Access-Collin County
Published on October 16, 2015
It was four years ago, that a frail and worried young man named Joshua entered through the doors of Project Access-Collin County. Nominated by the Collin County Indigent Health Care Program, Joshua’s dreams of becoming the first in his family to graduate college came to an abrupt halt when he learned he had Crohn’s disease shortly after starting his freshman year.
For several years, Joshua’s parents owned and ran a successful deli shop in a busy office building and were working towards the American Dream. By 2008, the Global Financial Crisis was in full swing. One by one, tenants began shutting their doors, leaving the once bustling office building almost empty. With the ever decreasing number of customers, Joshua’s parents faced a challenging road ahead.
Now unsure about their future, the couple learned their son had Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation of the lining of your digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition. Since there is no known cure, Joshua and his parents remained hopeful for long-term remission through medications and therapies available that can greatly reduce the signs the symptoms.
Without insurance, one can imagine the financial toll this took on the family. Determined to help their oldest child, the couple paid cash for doctor’s visits, lab work and medications until eventually, their resources were depleted. Joshua knew it would be a challenge keeping up with classwork without treatment, but often asked if it was even possible? Not knowing what else to do, Joshua’s physician generously volunteered to treat him at no cost.
Joshua was approved and received all necessary medical care, thanks to the PACC team of Physician Volunteers, ancillary partners, and patient navigation, including pharmacy assistance to help with costly medications. Through these donated services, Joshua’s disease stabilized which allowed him to continue attending college and regain his life.
This year marks a huge turning point for Joshua. In May, Joshua graduated from the University of Texas with a Bachelor’s of Science in Accounting and was offered a position with a large accounting firm in North Texas, which now offers great benefits including health insurance. Joshua and his family are grateful for the care provided by the PACC network. “Although there is no cure at this time, I feel blessed to be doing better and I don’t believe that I would be where I am today without the assistance and support provided by PACC.” said Joshua.
Looking at a bright future, Joshua plans to continue to volunteer at Camp Oasis, a summer program that brings together youth with Crohn’s disease and colitis for a safe and supportive camping experience. “I plan to continue volunteering at Camp Oasis each summer. When I was younger, I learned a lot from the volunteers. I hope that by volunteering, maybe I too can give hope to even just one camper. Crohn’s disease can take a toll on a person’s body, especially a young child. But, I want to show them that it is possible to live a successful life, even with the disease,” says Joshua.
Joshua is one of the many success stories coming from Project Access-Collin County. “We were all so excited to hear about Joshua and how far he has come. We are also grateful for the generous support of our entire network of Physician Volunteers, ancillary providers, and hospital partners. Without them, none of this would be possible,” said Executive Director, Jennifer Koi Bolton. “It is amazing to see how much progress PACC has made in the past four years. Just like Joshua, we want to see all our clients achieve their own success stories and we will continue working towards creating a healthier Collin County.”