Best friends: Young woman rescues sick homeless man from the street

Three million people live on the streets in the richest country in the world: the United States. A quarter at least are military veterans. One of those is vet John Lochlan of Philadelphia. His life outside is tough, his clothes dirty and torn. Many have shown him hostility over the years and it hit him hard. 

Through homelessness John was excluded from society and faced not just the environmental hardships one would expect, but also violence. He has been shot and even hit by a car, which led to severe spinal damage and an infection in his ankles that made it impossible for him to stand. His swollen legs were a constant source of pain, especially when they chafed against his trousers.

With no health insurance, he'd been turned away from two hospitals. Finally, one doctor recognized what terrible condition he was in and put him on a waiting list for special assistance. But the wait was long, and John was running out of time. 


This one is a heart breaker. John is someone I've gotten to know since his dramatic #phillystreetcuts (scroll back to view.) About a month ago while crossing a street he was hit by a car and ended up being hospitalized. I saw him 2 weeks ago and yesterday when I saw him my jaw dropped. He's been living, eating, and sleeping in his wheel chair. His legs are unable to be elevated this way which they desperately need. They are so inflamed, his jeans barely fit around his ankles. Without insurance 2 hospitals said nothing was wrong until @templeuniv hospital had a doctor say he had spinal damage. I'm taking him to and from his appointments with a neurosurgeon but I cannot and will not wrap my head around a human being living on the streets at 60 years old unable to heal. Most social programs here have a wait, and John cannot wait. This infection and his state could very well lead to death. Is this the America we live in? If anyone in Philadelphia has a cheap, temporary rental please DM me as #dignityproject will cover costs. Thank you all. Much love❤️ @phillymayor and @councilmandomb this is a man in our city desperately in need of help. A @gofundme LINK IN BIO TO SUPPORT

Ein von Lolly Galvin (@realhumanist) gepostetes Foto am

Invisible to most people around him, exposed and helpless, he lost hope and faith in the goodness of people. Until someone came along who did see him and decided to take care of him.

That someone was Lolly Galvin, founder of Dignity Project, an organization that provides simple necessities (toilet paper, sleeping bags, haircuts and more) for homeless people in her hometown of Philadelphia. When she first approached him with an offer of a free haircut, he refused. He didn't feel comfortable interacting with someone.

But Lolly wasn't giving up so easily. She could tell that if someone didn't help him, he wouldn't last much longer. She persisted. A few weeks after first approaching him, she finally persuaded him to accept the free haircut. 

Over the following weeks she befriended the grouchy 57-year-old. Of all the people she had helped over the course of time, she saw something in him that drove her to go the extra mile. She didn't think he would survive the despair — not to mention his medical situation — if she left him to keep struggling alone on the street.


"What about the balloons?" John says as he looks at the table. I ask him if he wants them and he shakes his head. "They make me feel like somebody ya know?" Special thanks to @callmeleeesh who wiped her tears post-election and drove John to his hotel room bought by YOU. I will be leaving the country tomorrow for a couple of weeks, but he is in a safe and warm comfortable bed that's FILLED with cards/gifts from around the country. Should you guys want to make a girl feel like he's taken care of in my absence you may write him at: Guest JOHN LOUGHLIN Super 8 Bellmawr 341 S Black Horse Pike Bellmawr, NJ 08302 It's not easy finding first floor (handicapped) rooms! Thank you all for going above and beyond for someone who's never felt anything even close to this. #dignityproject

Ein von Lolly Galvin (@realhumanist) gepostetes Foto am

With this new friend at his side, John felt encouraged. He started to fight. He went with Lolly to visit a new doctor. She went with him to the specialist appointments to have his spine operated on and they even got the infection in his lower legs treated. For the first time, he was being lovingly cared for. 

For years, every step had been excruciating for him. But soon he was taking steps with his own legs as the treatment began to work. 

Neither John nor Lolly had expected to become close friends. Lolly was surprised to find herself developing such a strong bond to this tough, old outcast she'd met on the street. But here they were and it was making a huge difference. Even the local news eventually took notice and produced a report about their story.

Sometimes it just takes a helping hand to completely change someone's life. John and Lolly's story is extraordinary — but let's hope it gets repeated all over the world, everywhere there are people in need!




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