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Heart-to-Heart: Bruce and Blu

Bruce and Blue were recently featured in Lifelong's fundraising letter. Their story is one of devotion and hope. Our heart sings for these two.

Diagnosed with HIV at the age of 28, Bruce’s doctors gave him only 13 months to live. Yet for decades Bruce seemed to beat the odds—until about seven years ago when he found himself unemployed, ill and couch-surfing with his faithful dog Blu.

With few places to turn to for help, he reached out for assistance from Lifelong. A housing case manager was able to quickly connect him with an affordable living space, while Chicken Soup Brigade gave him nutritious food to keep him strong during medical treatment. Unfortunately life had more twists in store for Bruce, and last year he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, which combined with HIV and Hepatitis C was an overwhelming burden.

An inoperable tumor was also discovered on Blu, making both of them especially vulnerable.

But Bruce didn’t give up. Again he turned to Lifelong for critical resources and kindness—relying especially on his case manager Alison for guidance and support during his navigation of insurance and treatment. And when things seem unmanageable, Bruce simply says, “Now I have someone I can call.”

Bruce also receives weekly groceries from Chicken Soup Brigade which provide him with nutritious meals that he otherwise couldn’t afford. They’ve helped boost his weight and energy, and now he’s up to 150 lbs.—a huge improvement from the 128 lbs. he weighed during chemotherapy.

Looking back, Bruce points out what an impact Lifelong has had on his life. From the very first time he asked for assistance with food and medical needs to support during his fight with pancreatic cancer. “Going through the chemotherapy—there are definitely days when you go ‘but what am I doing this for’. Lifelong made it valuable to continue doing it.”

And despite her recent health setbacks, Blu’s still going strong. “We don’t know how much longer Blu has, but she’s in good spirits.” Bruce says, patting her on the head as she gazes up adoringly. But it’s clear that they both have a lot of fight left in them.