The perfect family....two girls, one boy, two dogs, one cat and nine hermit crabs all surrounded by extended family in their Erie, Pennsylvania home. But for Jim and Robin Williams, the cloud of severe chronic pain hovered over their lives.
For seven years, Jim has battled increasing chronic pain from the affects of arthritis only to end up relying on very high doses of pain medication for only partial relief.
“Jim’s pain was very debilitating,” said Robin. “It was becoming very hard to operate like a normal family and keep normal obligations, nonetheless help others in the community.”
Helping others in the community was exactly what Jim’s life was about. As an administrator with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Jim’s job was to administer grants to human services organizations in Northwestern Pennsylvania, and to assist these organizations with improvements in their efforts. He served on various boards for community agencies to help bring about better services to his entire community.
At age 39, Jim’s doctor suggested that he apply for Social Security Disability, and according to Robin, it was a big blow for Jim who couldn’t imagine never again contributing to society at his formal level.
As a last straw, they turned to the Cleveland Clinic’s Pain Management Program. The intense therapy was very expensive but worth it in their eyes. Through a gift from Betterment’s Immediate Need Fund in 2005, they were able to pay uninsured medical bills so they could begin focusing on Jim feeling better, not on financial stress. Recently, Jim returned to his job with less pain and is no longer taking pain medication. “It was the start of a new beginning for us,” said Robin. “Now it’s time for us to build our family back up again and get back into giving back to the community.”
“We are hopeful for the future for the first time in years. Thanks for helping us get to this turning point.”