The accidental foundation beneficiary

Harry at the beach with his dog

I never intended to be the beneficiary of a foundation that paid my co-pay for drugs. I never intended to have asthma. I never intended to have to watch my pennies in retirement. Yet, all these things happened.

As a kid growing up in Chicago I thought of myself as pretty street-wise and as an excellent student. College and law school were natural goals easily accomplished by grants, scholarships and jobs. Military service in the Marines was unexpected, but since I was never sent to the war it was a broadening experience I have come to treasure.

Married happily for 48 years and counting — three great daughters came with the life I had hoped for and planned as a young man. However, I also planned on being able to make money on investments in retirement; yet lost half our savings in the bubble. I thought I had enough for a comfortable retirement, and I did for over 10 years. It went on and on though. Our home was flooded in a freak desert storm. And now economic times are different for us.

Who knew that the childhood allergies that doctors said I would outgrow I never outgrew? Who knew that the sinusitis I dealt with would eventually lead to asthma? Millions of seniors are experiencing the same situation. Many seniors skip their daily asthma medications because of cost. It is a situation even those who have planned well cannot avoid.

I was determined to find a way to get the drugs I have come to rely on and find a way to afford it. I researched the internet for two weeks and found PAN Foundation. At first, I was skeptical. I checked it on well-known sites that rate charities and it has the highest rating. Ninety-five percent of funds go to patient care. Amazing.

Finally, I made the fateful telephone call and I was qualified in minutes. I would be able to avoid the costs of my drugs for several years. I slept well for the first time in months with the comfort I felt from the friendly and knowledgeable people at PAN I talked to.

I quickly told my primary care doctor, my friends and my children who are doctors. I have become a bishop for the program, telling everyone I come in contact with about it. Already two of my friends among the retired men I play tennis with have found help with PAN.

The only way I can pay PAN back is to help others. I no longer feel like a soul who lost his way.