One year ago, Mack Simmons lost his job and ended up facing homelessness with his son John.
When he was 17, Mack selflessly donated one of his kidneys to his critically-ill sister Tanita. Sadly, Tanita passed away a few years later, and then Mack developed kidney failure in his one remaining kidney. Still, he worked until he couldn’t bear it any longer because of the pain.
“It was to the point where sometimes I would go to work and I would just have to stop have to stop whatever I was doing because I was just in so much pain,” he said.
Soon, he lost his ability to walk and had to quit his job, sending his financial situation into a tailspin. The only thing Mack could count on was the support of his son.
“He said, ‘Dad, if you’re gonna be homeless I’m gonna be homeless right along with you,'” Mack continued. “I said, ‘man, I raised you right.'”
Rather than live on the streets, the father and son scraped together the cash to move from Washington, D.C., to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They had barely settled into living in their car when Mack suffered a medical emergency that sent him to the emergency department at UPMC McKeesport Hospital. There, doctors discovered an aortic blockage that required surgery to fix. To Mack’s amazement, his doctors assured him that he’d be able to walk again after his surgery!
Carol Madia, a member of Mack’s care team at UPMC McKeesport, said when they learned of his living situation, they knew they had to help him get back on his feet — literally and figuratively!
“After his big surgery we found out through the social workers in the ICU that he was facing a possible homeless situation, and his living situation wasn’t very good,” she said. “He would need dialysis and he would need physical therapy and other medical care, and we wanted to make sure that he was able to get that and be discharged safely.”
The social workers said Mack’s “genuine kindness” made him stand out. They arranged for John and Mack to move into temporary housing after he was released from the hospital. Then they secured a permanent home for the father and son! Mack and John say the hospital’s work was a huge blessing that has turned their lives around.
“Last year I would have never thought that this would happen,” John said. “Living in my new home! This has been amazing, I’m not gonna lie.”
A very grateful Mack added, “Being able to walk again, because I wasn’t able to walk this time last year, it’s truly a blessing.”
Mack gave so much to help his sister and care for his son, so it’s wonderful to see someone taking care of him now!
Share this story to wish this father and son the best in their new home.
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