Best Christmas Story EVER!
On December 23rd, my husband and I noticed an emaciated man, clearly disoriented, standing in a Wholefoods in Scottsdale. He asked a clerk for Lifesavers and she guided him to the candy aisle, though they don't have Lifesavers there. I was still concerned and before we left the store, I found him again and he looked very unwell. I approached him and asked if he needed help to find something. He said he needed sugar because he felt weak from low blood sugar. After getting him some candy, I realized he was very very thin, and needed more than candy. We got him a sandwich and some water, and got him seated while I visited with him.
The whole time he was wandering around, distracted Holiday shoppers breezed by and no one seemed to notice him! (My tearful video is included below). We made a connection, he explained he was homeless, living in the desert for over 20 YEARS in the midst of Scottsdale’s affluence.
We went home, but couldn’t get him off our minds. I couldn't even sleep thinking about him! So the next day, Christmas Eve, we went to the desert to find him. After 2 1/2 hrs of walking back and forth and scouring the desert, we almost gave up. We got in the car to go home, but decided to drive up a dirt path in the opposite direction and said a prayer to the Creator to please help us find Alan, and within 3 minutes, WE FOUND HIM! (That video is attached as well)
He would not come to a shelter or to get help, so we got him some more food, visited with him for a bit and told him we would be back the next to take him for a Christmas meal.
The next day, Christmas Day, we returned to his “camp”, bearing gifts of food and other necessities, but his health had declined and he could no longer eat, so we urged him to come with us to the hospital. He was very reluctant, but I said we were NOT leaving, and he needed help. After much coaxing, he agreed and we transported him to the hospital, where he currently remains as they stabilize him. It turns out he is very dehydrated, malnourished and had also had a heart attack!
But that’s not all! I used used my sleuthing and technology skills and found his sisters in Indiana. They had been searching for him for 38 years! We connected them via Facebook and I tearfully listened as his younger sister wept with joy, explaining that the family had tried numerous times to contact him, to no avail. They assumed he had died, not hearing from him all those years.
More family members are finding out and this story just gets better and better!
His sister tells us that they and Alan had a very traumatic childhood, filled with abuse and the murder of their mother when Alan was just 6 years old. She informed us that Alan not only served in Vietnam, he is a purple heart recipient!!
He will be needing so much upon discharge from the hospital. Clothing, basic necessities, good nutrition, a place to live. As I write this, we are working on getting his ID, contacting advocates at the VA so we can apply for benefits. It's a long road, and we are starting without even a scrap of ID.
UPDATE - we are now dealing with providing alternative and complementary treatments because Alan has Pancreatic Cancer. He is ready to fight this battle and we will need a lot of help to do so, because he is too weak for Chemo or Surgery. Thank you for your help!!!
His sister Julie got to visit after not seeing him for almost 40 years! Such an emotional reunion.
Please consider giving to this fund. We are so grateful we noticed someone in need and we will not let go until Alan is back on his feet, living the life God intended for him. Thanks for reading this. God Bless!