“People say a lot of things and they do a lot of things, but these people, the Gina McReynolds Foundation, they talk the talk and walk the walk.”

 

christineShe is usually the one helping the patients, not the other way around.

As a renal dietitian for 15 years with Fresenius Medical Care, Christine works with dialysis patients who often are receiving treatment in a chair for four hours at a time, three times a week much like chemotherapy treatment. She gets to know her patients pretty well but after her breast cancer diagnosis, she tried to keep it separate so she could focus on her work.

“I could tell they were looking at me odd. I wore a wig and you try to keep things separate. I started wearing the scarf. One lady who always wore a turban said to me, ‘Oh look at you, you’re one of us now!’” she laughs. “All of them want to know how I’m doing. I’m always asking them how they are and they started asking me.”

Keeping her chin up is how she’s had to do most things in life since she lost her husband, Leo, four years ago when he was only 45 years old.

That same year, her oldest daughter Victoria, 22, welcomed a baby with her longtime boyfriend—a celebration of life amidst the grief.

“I became a widow and a grandmother in the same year,” she says. “We’ve made our adjustments just like anyone would. Then I was told I had cancer and it was just another thing we have to get through. My younger daughter is a junior at Winter Park High School. With a 16 year old, they don’t understand what’s going on and a lot of times you’re trying to hide what you’re feeling. That’s probably been the most painful part and dealing with it without my husband.”

And even though she is used to keeping it together for the family and being the one helping others, Christine soon found herself on the receiving end, whether she liked it or not.

“My friend Anna met Will and she told me about the foundation and thought I might qualify. I was reluctant because I’m not the type who likes to ask for help.”

But she did ask and one night at the Winter Park Ale House, Will, Tom, and Mike showed up with pink balloons, gifts, and a check.

“It was like winning the lottery. I can’t believe there’s this kind of help out there. I was in shock and in tears. Tom was funny, he said, ‘You better go cash that check to make sure it clears,’” she laughs.

It’s the humor that helps her get through the tough parts, she says, as well as the huge outpouring of support from people she knows near and far, now and then.

“People say a lot of things and they do a lot of things, but these people, they talk the talk and walk the walk,” she says. “They’re helping the people who are local to the community. You’re helping someone that could be your neighbor. Knowing you can help someone even in the smallest way is huge for that person in need. And the fact that so many foundations all go towards research, this truly goes into the pockets of people who truly need it.”

 

With the help of individuals just like you, we are able to provide financial support to families in need, here in our community.

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