Submitted by: Unity Care NW

Each year, Unity Care NW cares for over 21,000—about one in 10—Whatcom County residents, people like Melinda.

Melinda was having a health crisis. She woke up one morning to find painful sores throughout her mouth. Despite numerous visits to doctors’ offices, no effective course for treatment had been found. She struggled for months. She had difficulty eating and eventually became bedridden. At one point, her son had to take her to the emergency room because she was so emaciated.  

Photo courtesy: Unity Care NW

Things started to turn around for her when she moved to Ferndale and into her daughter’s home. Her daughter took her mom to a Unity Care NW ARNP, who diagnosed her with an autoimmune disease and started a treatment plan that gave her some relief. She also learned she had gum disease and soon had three teeth extracted in an emergency visit with a Unity Care NW dentist.

The extraction process continued with a series of regular visits over the next three years. Each visit gave Melinda more relief from the mouth sores, but she grew self-conscious because of the missing teeth. She eventually secured a referral to Bellingham Denture Clinic, which accepted her insurance.  

Today, she proudly flashes her new smile. Her eyes fill with tears as she reflects on the life-changing events over the last few years. With her daughter’s support and the whole person care she has received at Unity Care NW, she has been able to find a pathway to improving her health. Today, Melinda is healthier, more independent, and is moving into her own place.

Photo courtesy: Unity Care NW

Along with the medical treatment she has received, she’s also learning how to reduce stress and improve her diet to combat her autoimmune condition. Melinda is especially sentimental when she thinks of the care she received from her health care provider. “If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be here. She saved my life.”

Much of Unity Care NW’s work, including services like its Whatcom Veggie Rx program and a variety of wellness groups, are made possible by donations from community members. During this giving season, Unity Care NW invites you to learn more about its work and to consider a gift to support this important cause. This year, Unity Care NW is offering a new opportunity to provide you, your friends, and your family a chance to give through a special online donation form. If you’d like to help support Unity Care NW, you can create your own giving page, share the link with friends or family, and encourage them to help provide health care for everyone.

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