“I was sick so long in my life that I had no idea what it was to be healthy.”

Thirty-one-year-old Luis was born with Diabetes Type 1. By the time he reached his twenties it was out of control and making him sick. As a result, Luis dropped out of college after finding he couldn’t concentrate on his courses. He also found himself calling sick into work regularly which hurt his ability to support his wife and child.

Last year, 13% of Wisconsin adults went without needed healthcare because of the associated costs.

Luis was referred to the Sixteenth Street Community Clinic, because he lacked access to health care coverage. At the clinic he was introduced to Eida, a dietician who was determined to help him get his health back on track.

“When I first met Luis, he was very depressed,” says Eida, his blood sugar levels were always fluctuating from 35-40 to 400. When blood sugar levels fluctuate so rapidly, it can cause a person to feel really sick,” she said.

The clinic was able to provide Luis with an insulin pump. He also met with Eida regularly to learn ways to improve his diet and keep his sugar levels under control.

“Once I had my sugar under control, it was amazing, I felt like I could jump through walls, it changed my life,” said Luis.

“The health of all citizens in our community is important,” said Joy Tapper, Executive Director of the Milwaukee Health Care Partnership. “The investments from the United Way impact everyone, regardless of your class, race or status in life.”

Last year, 96% of clients felt that they were able to make their own decisions and were included in setting a plan for their own health by participating in Health Care Access programs.

Today, with his diabetes under control, Luis is now working towards earning his Bachelor’s degree. He also works full time as a driver for the United Community Center.

“I never knew what it was like to be healthy until now.  I realize now how important it is to take charge of my own health.  I’m happy that I can be there for my family,” said Luis.

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© 2020 United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County is a 501(C)(3) Nonprofit registered in the US under EIN: 39-0806190.