Even over Zoom, Michelle has a voice and presence exuding warmth and confidence. It’s no wonder that she’s spent much of her career successfully recruiting talent for various organizations.

Michelle is also a protective “mama bear,” always on alert, willing to do whatever it takes to fight for her three children: 8-year-old Savannah, 19-year-old Noah, and 23-year-old Brianna.

Now, thanks to people like you, Michelle is learning how to fight for herself and her future, too.

“These past 2 years – I’ve finally learned how to take my own power back,” she confides, with a note of pride and resolve in her voice.

Nearly three years ago, Michelle landed in the hospital. She was alone and in intense pain, completely cut off from family and friends due to COVID restrictions. The man who had put her there, her partner of over a decade, was on the run from the police as a result of the assault.

“I never understood why women in this situation wouldn’t just leave,” she says, shaking her head. “Until it was me.”
Michelle had also struggled with addiction for much of her life. Introduced to prescription pills as a teen, her dependency grew over time. She had periods of sobriety, but the relentless violence at home always shifted the focus away from her recovery.

As you can imagine, after leaving the hospital, Michelle felt isolated and overwhelmed. Injuries to her spine and hands made doing even the most basic tasks nearly impossible. Thankfully, Michelle’s family stepped in to take temporary custody of her two younger children during her recovery. The separation was agonizing, but it motivated her to reclaim her health and her life.

Needing a primary care doctor, Michelle turned to Lowell CHC. Despite the pandemic, our team worked quickly to connect Michelle with the care she needed. That included Dan, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor.

“You know, I really don’t know what I would have done without Dan,” Michelle readily admits.

“Before, I didn’t feel like I was being heard. Dan helped me open up. He was the person I confided in the most.”

Dan, Michelle’s Counselor, helped her rediscover her own strength – and believe a better future was within reach.

Thanks to the herculean efforts of our medical and IT teams, Michelle was able to connect with Dan without setting foot inside our Health Center. Our quick pivot to offer phone and then virtual visits early in the pandemic provided crucial continuity of care for Michelle. It paid off in a big way.

“My approach with Michelle was always to believe in her until she was able to believe in herself,” Dan shares. “Recovery can be a long, challenging process that requires strength and commitment. Michelle brought both.”

I am happy to tell you that, thanks to Michelle’s hard work, Dan’s support, and coordinated care at Lowell CHC, she is now able to re-build a new life for her family – and herself.

“Before, I had always focused so much on my kids, on fighting for them. Dan showed me that I deserve support, too.”

A big step in Michelle’s healing was taking a stand in court against her former partner – decisively and bravely putting that chapter behind her. Best of all, she has been reunited with her children in a home where they feel safe – a place where they can dream about what comes next.

“I want to travel, to eventually retire, to do things on my own, to make the most out of this life,” Michelle says smiling widely.

“I am grateful to Dan and the Health Center for helping me build the life I know my kids and I deserve.”

YOU can be a change maker for families like Michelle’s, with a gift to the Annual Fund.

Last month we introduced our new vision statement: A Just and Health Community. It is bold and aspirational, just like our Health Center, and just like Michelle. Your gift in any amount helps so many families in our community to thrive. Giving is easy…

Note: names have been changed throughout to protect patient privacy.