Two Layoffs and an Open Heart Surgery

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August 15, 2017 By: JT Pinther Category: SHH News

A mother of two herself, Kandy worked for 20 years as a daycare mom. She ended up writing and publishing a nonfiction book in 1986 about her vocation of dedicating her life to caring for others. In her family and in her work, Kandy always has a full heart for others.

Nobody expected a heart like hers to be in danger. But a few years ago, Kandy went to the doctor for a cold she had. When the doctor routinely pressed a stethoscope to her chest to listen to her heart, he hesitated. He listened again. “I don’t like what I’m hearing,” the doctor said.

Kandy was diagnosed with a rare heart condition, and she needed treatment right away.

A woman who’s spent her life with an open heart for others underwent emergency open heart surgery to remove a piece of her heart.

Kandy recovered with the support of those around her, and to this day, she is grateful she had health insurance and Medicare to help cover the major expenses of treating a serious health condition.

If the issue would’ve been discovered just a year or two prior, this would not have been as possible.

For decades, Kandy and her husband Mike lived with financial stability. She wouldn’t describe her life as comfortable, but the couple lived with little stress about money. This changed when Kandy and Mike both were laid off within months of one another. With no other income to keep Kandy and Mike afloat, they went from no significant financial stress to not knowing how to make ends meet.

Food is something we all need to thrive. Faced with little choice, Kandy started going to Good in the ‘Hood’s food pantry (a resource Second Harvest Heartland helps make possible) in Bloomington, located in a church close to her home. Kandy picked up food she was able to use to feed her and her husband.

With the help of the food pantry, Kandy and Mike are now back on their feet. They were able to retire, and things are much more stable for them.

Kandy didn’t stop visiting the food pantry. Today she is on the other side of the food tables. “[Good in the ‘Hood] helped us,” Candy said, “and I felt it was our turn.”

Although Kandy and Mike live in Eagan now, they still go to the little church in Bloomington every other Tuesday to volunteer at the food pantry. Many of the volunteer shifts go from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. including set-up and distributions. “You see all walks of life, and you really stop and be grateful,” Kandy said, “Even though we were in dire straits ourselves.”

In the six or seven years Kandy has been part of the food pantry, she approached a nearby grocery store manager and worked with the staff to get the store to donate bread to the pantry. Now the pantry has a much more robust bakery section, showing that Kandy will always go above and beyond to care for others. Her doctor may have removed a piece of her heart, but in our view, you wouldn’t know it.

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Second Harvest Heartland knows one in 10 Minnesotans is hungry on any given day. This September is Hunger Action Month, a nationwide campaign to mobilize the public to take action against hunger.  You can help hungry neighbors like Kandy, donations made in September will be generously matched by the Xcel Energy Foundation and a group of donors, up to $50,000. 


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