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He's too poor to afford a doctor but not poor enough for government help. That's where they come in.

Life can be hard. But there are good people in this world, working tirelessly to make things better.

He's too poor to afford a doctor but not poor enough for government help. That's where they come in.

What happens when you're too poor to afford health care, but not poor enough for government help?

The answer to that question, of course, is that you might not get any health care or medication. 60-year-old Paul Schirb knows this firsthand.


To qualify for Medicaid, a person typically needs to live at or slightly above the poverty line.

In the state of Arizona, where Paul lives, a two-person household is considered at poverty level if they earn less than $15,930 per year. Arizona has expanded Medicaid coverage so a family living at or below 138% of the poverty line can qualify. Still, that means the upper income limit is $21,983 for a two-person family. Despite being unemployed, Paul and his wife exceed that limit because of Social Security income.

With how expensive doctors and medications are, how in the world is someone with such limited income supposed to get the health care and medications they need? Especially if they have any health conditions that require extensive treatment (but don't qualify them as disabled)? Those things can easily cost thousands of dollars a year.

The truth is that it can be nearly — or, in Paul's case, completely — impossible.

Enter: doctors with a passion for helping people.



Mission of Mercy
is a nonprofit that provides free health care, dental care, and prescriptions to people in need. That's right: free.

Because of the Mission of Mercy and volunteers like Dr. Ira Ehrlich, Paul gets his prescriptions and can see doctors.

Ehrlich is a retired Ivy League-educated cardiologist who has chosen to forgo a leisurely golfing retirement and instead dedicate his time and heart to people like Paul — the people who need him the most.

"I receive zero monetary compensation, but I receive a great deal of compensation in terms of the good feeling that I get being there, the ability to come home feeling: 'I've done something nice for somebody. I've made a difference.' That is compensation."
— Dr. Ira Ehrlich

It might be easy to see a story like this and say, "Oh, that's nice!" and move on, but take a minute to think about the impact. For Paul and thousands of others caught in the strings of a faulty system, Mission of Love and other organizations like it are providing a safety net. And saving lives.

If you need a quick reminder that there are a lot of really good people in this world who are doing their part to make it better, you can watch this short video of Dr. Ehrlich in action.

Courtesy of CeraVe
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"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

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via The Walt Disney Company / Flickr

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Courtesy of CeraVe
True

"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

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