On the frontlines of COVID-19, there are many dark days. There are also some bright spots.

We’d like to introduce you to one. Meet Pete*.

If you’re looking for a tale of hope and optimism (aren’t we all!), read on about Pete, a man in his 50’s who turned his life around.

This is also a story of Carmen and Andrea, two Lowell CHC heroes, who refused to let Pete slip between the cracks.

“There are so many people society doesn’t see,” says Andrea. “We see them. We hear them. We let them know they are worth being cared for.”

Carmen and Andrea are part of our Behavioral Health Community Partner (BH CP) Program, offered in conjunction with Lowell House, Inc., which works with patients living in poverty who are battling significant substance and mental health issues. Their needs are immense.

That was Pete. For 35 years, his life had been defined by alcohol. He was homeless; living under a bridge. He had lots of health issues. And he was depressed. Like so many who battle addiction, he’d been in and out of detox, but never remained sober for long. But, he had also never met our “Dynamic Duo.”

Carmen, the BH CP Clinical Manager and Andrea, the Lead Nurse, worked with Pete at his own pace. They started with small changes, like offering clean water and nutritious food – a flashlight to help him navigate his temporary home at night.

After a significant bout with pneumonia, Pete had had enough. He reached out to Carmen, and she was able to find him at bed in a detox program in Worcester.

While there, Pete’s mother died. Not only did Carmen secure a suit that actually fit and a free haircut, she arranged for a Community Health Worker to be with him at the funeral so that his emotions didn’t derail his progress.

Pete completed detox and eventually moved to a half-way house, a 90-minute drive from Lowell. About a month after he’d arrived, Pete invited Carmen and Andrea to “stop by” for a visit. They hopped in the car.

“I remember asking Pete, ‘Why now? What made you ready to stick with recovery?'” Carmen recalls. His response brought tears to her eyes.

“No one had believed in me before,” he said. “You did.”

Just a few weeks ago, Carmen received a call from Pete. She was nervous. Had the stresses of COVID-19 caused another relapse? Instead, Pete had called to tell her how well things were going.

He remains sober, in recovery, and in a supported environment. Most of all, he remains grateful to Carmen, Andrea, and Lowell Community Health Center.

Pete reminds us all that change is possible. In troubling times such as these, that’s comforting to know.

If you are interested in joining us in creating sustained change for patients like Pete, please donate today to our COVID-19 Response Fund.

Now, more than ever, we need friends like you. Thank you.

*Note: Name and some details have been changed to protect patient privacy.