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Client Spotlight: Dangena Johnson

Situation: I am the Primary Caregiver for my son Bernard Pugh who received an LVAD implant earlier this year. Bernard lives with me, and relies on me to be his transportation for follow up appointments.

How has TJBF helped you?: The Foundation was there for us when we really needed it. My car had broken down and we were unable to get around our home town, but most importantly we were unable to get Bernard to and from his appointments at UPMC. The Joe Beretta Foundation was able to pay for our car to be fixed so that we could get back on the road. Now Bernard can focus on his health. People don’t understand how quick little things like that can add up on you. Another thing The Foundation did was make sure that Bernard had an air conditioner for his room. It’s just not possible to have an LVAD and be in 90 degree heat all summer. The Foundation made sure that wasn’t going to be the case for us, so that I could still meet the other needs we have as a family. It’s by the grace of God that we were able to find you.

What do you wish people knew about heart failure: I wish people knew that it was a completely life changing thing. Not just for the patient but for the caregiver and the family as well. It’s hard to juggle everything that you have to do and still be effective for everyone. I think that people need to understand and know that all the outside help that you can give to people is greatly appreciated. Without it I couldn’t have survived. Without it my son couldn’t have survived. The help from people and foundations like yours just helped make everything not so stressful. It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed. Sometimes I feel like there is just no relief for me personally, because I’m trying to do everything for everyone. But a little bit of help goes a long way. It’s gratifying to be able to be there for your family, but it does require a lot of you.

What would you to anyone who was thinking of giving to TJBF:I would say that money given to The Foundation is a good investment. It’s going to help real people like me and my son Bernard. And I know that we as a family are so grateful that we received helped when we desperately needed it, and that other families are grateful as well.

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