All About Alex
EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT! Read “all about Alex.” The newspaper arrived early one morning in March at the home of Bob and Sharon Hickey. The story was entitled, “In nursing homes, impoverished live final days on pennies.” Sharon was drawn to the story as well as the 82-year-old man in the photo – a man named Alex who lives at a nursing home in Philadelphia.
“For U.S. nursing home residents receiving Medicaid, all income is garnished, and the person is left to rely on a small subsidy known as a personal needs allowance,” the article read. “The federal government hasn’t changed the minimum rate, $30 monthly, since 1987.”
“How many years do I have left?” Alex is quoted as saying, “I want to live those as well as I can. But to some degree, you lost your dignity.”
Sharon read on to learn more about Alex, but his quote about losing his dignity saddened her until she remembered that the Mychal’s Message mission statement contained that same word – dignity – “restoring dignity with love.” She continued to read all about Alex. “He ended up in a nursing home after a bad fall,” the article read. Once he realized that his income would no longer be his, he began to wonder about how long he could use the same razor or how tightly he could squeeze the last drop of Fixodent out for his dentures. If he managed not to spend any money on those things, he’d have enough left to buy peanut butter crackers, a diet soda or a much-needed new pair of pants to replace his tattered ones.
Sharon read on to learn all about Alex. Alex is a Quaker who believes in a simple life. He graduated from an ivy league school and chose not to chase wealth but instead took jobs working for non-profits to help others. He worked to help “farmworkers, public housing tenants and the mentally ill,” the article read. He even worked as an “aid worker in Central and South America.”
“Looking back,” the author wrote about Alex. “[He] wouldn’t change how he lived his life. But it doesn’t seem too much, he says, to ask for a soda.”
Mychal’s Message reached out to the author of this article, Matt Sedensky of the Associated Press who gave us the address of the nursing home in Philadelphia where Alex resides. Needless to say, Mychal’s Message sent him cans of diet Pepsi, sugar-free candy and cookies, sweatpants and a sweatshirt, Fixodent, and socks. When Sharon called the nursing home to be sure everything had arrived, she was told he was in tears, overwhelmed with gratitude and asked if it would be okay for him to share what was sent with the other residents.
In this new project, All About Alex, Mychal’s Message will collect donations to purchase personal need items. Those items will be distributed to Alex and others like him to help restore dignity with love.
How You Can Help
Your tax-deductible donation of ANY AMOUNT will allow us to provide personal need items that will be distributed to Alex and others like him to help restore dignity with love.
Donations by check should be mailed to:
P.O. Box 6404
Lancaster, PA 17607
Online donations are accepted through Network for Good.
Please click the button below and specify "All about Alex" in the "Designation" line on the Network for Good website.