Roberto’s story

The importance of a CHW in someone’s life

Community health work is intimate work and there isn’t always a roadmap. Building trust and relationships makes our work more effective and sustainable. Roberto’s story is just one example of the thousands of lives that are touched, changed and saved through community health work.

Judith is a community health worker with WellShare who has served the community for the past ten years. In July 2022, Judith met a twenty-year-old man named Roberto through a community outreach event at a local church.

It had been a tough year for Roberto and his family after losing his father to Covid 19. Roberto was in Minnesota visiting his sister for the first time in many years. While visiting his sister, Roberto experienced symptoms of what he thought was a sprained ankle. His sister contacted Judith to help get him a doctor’s appointment.

Judith was able to schedule an appointment in a community clinic within days. The day Roberto had his appointment, he got a call with unexpected news. The doctor saw something in his x-ray and referred him to an oncologist.

Right away, Judith was able to help Roberto navigate the healthcare system to access care immediately. One week later, Roberto received the worst news of his life. Roberto was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer, Osteosarcoma in his ankle. He was suddenly faced with making life changing decisions. He didn’t have time to look for a second opinion, as he had to start chemotherapy right away.

Judith helped find financial assistance and removed that stress from Roberto’s already challenging situation. Roberto was receiving the treatment he needed to save his life. Judith shares, “on my journey as a community health worker, I have learned so much through helping Roberto. I am confident in the impact CHWs can make in someone’s life. This is life changing and lifesaving work! Our work is deeply valued and needed within our community.”

As the months went by, Judith was there supporting him with resources to address his medical, emotional, and financial needs. In November of 2022, Roberto’s leg was amputated. In January of 2023, Roberto finally received his prosthetic leg and started adapting to his new life. Through all the pain and changes, Roberto remains optimistic.

“As a community health worker, I am so grateful for WellShare for giving me the opportunity and trust to meet each client where they are at. My experience with Roberto has changed my work life and the way I see clients” Judith Garcia.

If you would like to learn more and support our work, please visit our website or consider contributing to our community health programs.

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