Chronic pain can dismantle your life. But the agonizing dental pain that brought Monique to her knees hadn’t always been there.
Monique is a Prairie Girl, through-and-through. But her husband wielded power over their finances and blocked Monique from accessing much-needed money and other shared assets.
So Monique packed her van with essentials; anything and everything she could easily grab to make her fresh start a little easier. Of course, she saved room in the van for her Border Collie, Hazel.
Finally, feeling frightened but free, she set off for Kelowna.
She didn’t have a lot, but that was a small price to pay for her own well-being. She wasn’t earning much and almost all her income went towards her rent. Money was so tight, more than once she ate lunch at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission.
“I had two abscessed teeth. My mouth was incredibly swollen—I looked like the Elephant Man,” she says.
Over the next year, Monique reached out to numerous dental clinics, but each time there was a $300 fee just to see the dentist and get some initial X-rays to determine what was causing her pain. If she couldn’t afford that, how could she pay for treatment?
Over the next year, she managed constant physical pain, but the shame she felt every time someone gawked at her swollen face weighed her down. She couldn’t continue working at the restaurant.
That’s when she and her dog Hazel lost their home.
For the next few months, Monique experienced her rock bottom. With nothing to lose, she dialed Kelowna’s Gospel Mission. “Just come in,” our receptionist replied.
Monique felt stunned and relieved: someone was finally going to help her.
“The staff were compassionate, friendly, and informative. They took care of the abscessed teeth right away,” Monique says. “And the relief was instant! The swelling went down, and I was finally out of pain.”
Thanks to people like you, Monique is back on her feet. She’s working and has a comfortable home with a garden for Hazel to enjoy. In fact, you might be surprised to learn that she’s now an integral part of our team, working as a Frontline Worker at our Doyle Avenue Emergency Shelter!
“I’m grateful to walk alongside those who are experiencing homelessness. There are many people without a home due to pain, medical injuries, disabilities, and mental health issues,” says Monique.
Thank you for your generosity. Your gifts brought Monique dental care and paved a way forward when she needed help most.