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2017 Was Tough. Here Are 15 Beautiful Stories of Strangers Helping People With Chronic Illnesses.

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Let’s face it: A lot of difficult stories dominated the news in 2017. From hurricanes and fires to the health care battle in Congress to the opioid crisis, sometimes it was hard to find stories of people working to make the world a better place.

When you live with chronic health challenges especially, it’s all to easy to feel uncertain about the future. Those moments when someone does something kind or goes out of their way for another person can feel even more meaningful and become more important to hold on to.

We wanted to highlight some of the acts of kindness people with chronic illnesses have experienced, so we asked our Mighty community to share a time when someone helped them while they were having a health challenge in public. Hopefully, these stories of people who went out of their way to help complete strangers will end 2017 on a more positive note. Let’s celebrate the people who make the world a little better.

Here’s what our community told us:

1. “I was Black Friday shopping with my best friend. I was planning on skipping it, but my best friend was visiting and it’s not often we get to shop, so I was suffering through it. I was standing in line at Kohl’s and said to my friend, ‘People with disabilities should be able to move to the front or have their spot in line saved while they sit.’ It started a conversation with the lady behind us whose daughter had died due to a chronic illness. When my friend realized she forgot something and left the line, the lady helped me by moving all of our stuff when the line moved (there were no carts) and distracting me from my pain. It was nice to have someone that understood what I was going through and was willing to help.” — Cole K.

2. “I was waiting in the optician’s and I was called but couldn’t get up from the chair so a lovely older lady helped me up and was so kind. I have fibromyalgia. I find people are so lovely if you give them the chance.” — Lisa T.

3. “My husband and I were shopping at a plaza when I started getting anxiety out of nowhere. It included feeling faint and nausea and chest pains. I knew I couldn’t make it to the car so I had to lay on a bench seat while my husband went to get me a bottle of water. While [he was] gone a lovely lady asked if she could do anything, I told her my husband had gone to get me some water so she sat with me until he came back. I had no idea who she was and was never able to thank her.” — Amanda H.

4. “I was in my local shopping center a couple of weeks ago and my partner was carrying my rollator down the escalators for me but I was at the top trying to get on to go down as lifts were out of order! A lovely lady helped me to get on the escalator, then asked me if I needed help on the next one.” — Lynne H.

5. “I had an emotional breakdown at work. I’m a nurse and was working in the clinic. The doctor I worked under took me to an empty exam room, tucked me in, made sure I felt safe and then contacted my family. With her help, I voluntarily committed myself to get the help I needed. It was one of the hardest days of my life. Knowing that all of my coworkers knew what was happening caused even more anxiety. The doctor was wonderful to me and I am forever grateful.” — Casey R.

6. “I was playing beginner’s soccer to try to get back into it after getting diagnosed with POTS, and this nice lady, who’s about 40 years old, came running over to me and said, ‘I know you’re the one with the medical condition, and I just wanted to let you know, your legs are super red! The mother in me is just kicking in when I saw them!’ Super sweet moment.” — Linnea F.

7. “I was at Disney World with my family for my grandsons’ first visit. Even though I knew I was too sick to be there, I just couldn’t let my little guys down. By the end of the night I couldn’t walk, I was shaking uncontrollably and I was having complete body spasms. We were in a tight crowd of people for the evening fireworks show and everyone around us was offering help. One person was even kind enough to grab a cast member who went out of his way to find a wheelchair for me and safely escorted us to the park gates where other cast members then took over. The overall outpouring of care and concern from everyone was overwhelming. It’s definitely something I will never forget and will always be very grateful for.” — Pam K.

8. I was leaving campus one night, after a late night accounting class when it was raining quite a lot outside. It was dark and was still a bit of a walk to my car even with disabled parking. Anyways, I was pushing along with my rollator struggling to walk in a coat without a hood and one of the accounting students in my class that I’ve never met before came up and held his umbrella over my head and walked me to my car. I was so surprised and thankful.” — Mahala H.

9. “My first time passing out in public was in the middle of the grocery store. A quick-thinking employee made me a pillow out of bananas.” — Kelly M.

10. “I was at my bank. It was a bad chronic pain, migraine, flare-up day and it was a long wait to get what I needed done. So the receptionist went out of her way, found a chair for me and let me sit while I waited for my turn to be helped. Then once it was my time she carried the chair to the wicket for me. She constantly checked to to make sure I was doing OK and explained my situation to the teller so I would be taken care of well. I couldn’t thank this lady enough for her help. Truly grateful for her sincere, caring help.” — Susan A.

11. “This was a small but simple thing — I dropped some cards on the floor at Walmart the other day, and I knew there was no way I was going to be able to bend over to pick them up. I was looking around for a Walmart employee to help me when a couple came around the corner with their young daughter, around 5 years old. I swallowed my pride and said to the mom, ‘Excuse me, could I ask you to help me please,’ and before she could even answer, the daughter piped up, ‘Oh, I can help you, let me, let me!’ She ran over, picked up the cards, dusted them off and then handed them to me with a confident smile. I smiled back at her and said, ‘Thank you. You are an excellent helper’ and then mouthed ‘thank you’ to her mom as well. It actually made me tear up, how quick the little girl was to see a problem and to want to help another person. It left me with a good feeling all day.” — Pamela J.

12. “My blood sugar dropped to below 50. I was in a computer lab at school taking a test and I fainted and slid out of my chair. The man sitting next to me caught my head and very professionally guided me to the floor, put me into a rescue position, found my medical info on my phone and administered my rescue glucose. He sat with me until the paramedics came. He was training to be an EMT and saved me that day.” — Bailey S.

13.I have POTS… Just a couple of days ago I was standing in line at a restaurant to order and pay for my food. I passed out in line. This sometimes happens with my illness. My sister was sitting in the booth waiting for me and didn’t see me go down. Everyone was panicking which doesn’t help in this situation since I end up spending more time calming them down than taking care of me. But this one woman, Mary, calmly asked me if I had a medical condition and offered to help me up and pulled up a chair for me. While everyone else was running around like chickens with their heads cut off she calmly asked me if I had anyone with me, what my sister looked like and her name. She calmly asked what she could do to help and then she found my sister. She walked me back to my table, gave me a hug and told me she understood. Simple, calm and empathetic. Thank you, kind Mary.”  Samantha B.

14. “I suffer from chronic vomiting and sudden dizziness and when this first started happening, I was at the grocery store after an endoscopy because I had to go on a liquid diet. I ended up getting really dizzy and vomited on the floor in the middle of an aisle. And no questions asked, this employee comes up and cleans it and makes sure I’m OK. What helped most is that he didn’t make a big deal about it.” — Sabrina P.

15. “Today my walker slid and then collapsed on the ice so of course I fell over pretty badly. Several people rushed over to help and one lovely girl stayed with me. She could see I was having a hard time getting up so she sat with me until I was ready and lifted me so I could sit on my walker rather than on the floor. They picked up my books which had flown everyone and a friend of mine who happened to see walked me back to my room. There are some good people in this world.” — Jenni P.

Originally published: December 22, 2017
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