“I do it for my boys,” says Santiago with a smile as he eagerly shows off pictures of Mateo (15 years old) and Samuel (14 years old). “They’re Irish twins! Or should I say Guatemalan twins?”
When Santiago first came to BVMI, he was showing all the classic signs of Type II diabetes. He had blurry vision, frequent hunger and a need to use the bathroom often. “I would be spending time with my family and I would always have to disrupt beautiful moments to go eat or go to the bathroom. My wife was so worried about me.”
Thankfully, his wife Clara took notice and started to look into their options. Like many of BVMI’s patients, Santiago had once had insurance through his employer. After 30 years at the same company, he was laid off. Santiago was then without a job – and without insurance. It seemed nearly impossible that Santiago would be able to see a doctor.
Clara, a nanny, told her co-worker Alex about Santiago. Alex had been in similar situation, working as a maid and without insurance. Then she found BVMI. She told Clara, and before the end of the day, Santiago and Clara were scheduled to come in for an eligibility screening.
“It is a blessing to have BVMI – most people can’t afford medical care in the US without having some insurance to offset the costs. If I had gone to the doctor after I lost my job, it would have put my family in debt. It is amazing that there are volunteers who provide this incredible care and selflessly give their time.”
While Santiago is looking for a job, he is working as often as he can as a landscaper and as a mover. “At the end of the day, I am so lucky to have a wonderful family to share my life with. It’s not about the money. As long as we can provide for our boys, health, family, and love are all I need.”