“You Know, Mom, I Love You and Thank You for Giving Me Another Mom. You’ll Always be My Mom, But Thank You for Giving Me Her”

Dr. Roseanna Means, a physician who trained at Harvard and now works at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, helps homeless women. For example, she will approach a homeless woman sitting on a park bench and say, “I have some socks — you need some socks?” Often, the answer is, “Oh, sure, that’d be great.” In 1993, Dr. Means started volunteering at health clinics for the homeless. She said, “When I see these women, I see this could be me, it could be you, it could be any one of us, because there’s nobody that goes through life without having any problems. My own personal life, I’ve been through cancer, I lost a child, I’ve been through divorce, I have steel knees — I’ve been through lots of personal things in my life.” One homeless woman whom Dr. Means has personally helped is Donna O’Connell, who was a homeless drug addict in 2001 when she first met Dr. Means. Ms. O’Connell said, “We sat down and started talking, and she gave me courage and hope and she gave me antibiotics and evaluated me and then I opened up and started talking about my life and she just helped me.” Ms. O’Connell now has a home, works part-time, and is sober. She said about Dr. Means, “She saved me, so now when I go to my mom’s grave I say, ‘You know, mom, I love you and thank you for giving me another mom. You’ll always be my mom, but thank you for giving me her.’” In 1998, Dr. Means founded a non-profit organization: Women of Means. A team of 16 volunteer doctors gives women in homeless shelters free medical care. Dr. Means said, “It’s a giving of human kindness to people who just need to be acknowledged and validated and appreciated.”

For Further Information: Elaine Quijano, “Boston doctor’s kindness helps save homeless.” CBS News. 23 April 2013


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