Sometimes help comes from the most unexpected places.
Until recently, 27-year-old Jonathan Pinkard, who is on the autism spectrum, was alone in the world. The office clerk lived with his grandmother until she passed away seven years ago. So when Jonathan collapsed at work one day, he had no one to call from the hospital.
Doctors diagnosed him with a critical heart condition. The only cure was a new heart, but all potential transplant patients have to pass an evaluation before being selected because so many people need lifesaving organs. One requirement is having a strong support system because steady care is necessary to successful transplants.
So when it became clear that Jonathan had no support, he was taken off the list, making his survival unlikely. Thankfully, a guardian angel appeared in the form of ICU nurse Lori Wood.
Lori took care of Jonathan at Piedmont Newnan Hospital in Georgia for two days. After hearing about his tragic circumstances, the single mother of two decided to become his legal guardian.
“It was a no-brainer,” she explained. “He would have died without the transplant.”
After being discharged from the hospital and added to the transplant list once again, Jonathan moved into Lori’s home. The strangers soon discovered a shared fondness for TV shows. “Jonathan has his chair, and I have my chair,” Lori said. “We like game shows and high-five back and forth if we get an answer right. He is very loving.”
Now, Jonathan feels like part of the family. “She treats me like one of her sons,” he said. “I am truly thankful for that.”
Because of Lori’s support, Jonathan was able to receive a new heart in August! But the battle isn’t over yet. Lori is helping him take the 34 pills a day he needs to recover, bringing him to appointments, and even teaching him the life skills he needs to live on his own.
The awesome mom has no regrets! In fact, she said, “It’s been a joy having Jonathan here with us.”
Lori is a true hero! She has the pureness of heart that means she doesn’t hesitate for a moment when she sees someone in need. We should all strive to be more like her!
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