“Your life can change in an instant. One moment, I was riding a bus going to work downtown and the next I couldn’t move my leg.”
Angelis has always been a hard worker. Several years ago, she was on a bus to her job as a sales associate at Carson Pirie Scott. As she was about to get out of her seat, she realized that she could not move her right leg. “It was like it was a stone.” She was rushed to the emergency room. When they removed her shoe, her big toe had gone green.
Angelis was diagnosed with Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD). PAD is a circulatory condition in which narrowed blood vessels reduce blood flow to the limbs. It was too late to save her right leg and it was amputated above the knee. Angelis was in rehab for six weeks and had to adapt to her new life as a disabled person.
“It was hard to quit my job, but I didn’t have a choice. Before, when I saw somebody in a wheelchair, I felt sorry for them. Now, I was that person in a wheelchair. I was depressed and didn’t want to leave my apartment.”
But that’s not who Angelis is. She knew she still had skills and drive that PAD could not touch. She enrolled in an office training program and now volunteers at the Veterans of America. “The veterans sacrificed for our country and I feel like I am serving our country by helping them.”
“One of the greatest challenges of being disabled is that I have to learn how to do old things in a new way. Cooking was the hardest. My stove wasn’t designed for someone in a wheelchair and I could not cook without burning myself.”
“That is why I am so grateful to Meals on Wheels Chicago. Now I just come home and put the meal in the microwave. And because the meals are so healthy, it helps with my PAD. I am tired when I get home from work and it is great to know there is a nutritious meal waiting for me in the refrigerator. Everything about Meals on Wheels is great, from the food to the friendly driver who puts the meals in the kitchen so I don’t have to drag the boxes across the floor.”
Not having to worry about cooking gives Angelis more time to serve on her building’s resident council and to help her neighbors on pantry day. Armed with the confidence she gained at her volunteer job and the nutritious meals your support has provided her, Angelis is getting ready to go back to work. “When I lost my leg, I thought my life was over. Now, I want to be self-sufficient again. I want to get a full-time job where I can help people. I am thinking about becoming a motivational speaker for people who lost a limb so they will know that life goes on.”
“I want to thank everyone who donates to Meals on Wheels Chicago. Because of your generosity, you are helping me stay independent so I can help those less fortunate than me.”