Some students arrive at Western Michigan University facing significant financial or medical challenges. Some are without family or community support and do not have health insurance. At times, students go without needed prescription medications—and sometimes food—due to financial pressure. They miss classes, receive lower grades, and become sicker until they find themselves in an emergency room or failing school. Sindecuse Health Center is the place they seek help.
To help, a former Health Center physician and his wife founded The Bryan and Kathy Staufer Emergency Fund. The fund has helped hundreds of students receive crucial financial support to cover their health care expenses.
John’s Story of Determination and Resilience
"John’s*" divorced parents are unable to provide financial or emotional support. Enrolling at WMU, John was determined to improve his life and make opportunities for himself.
In his freshman year, an active schedule aggravated an untreated knee injury so John came to Sindecuse Health Center seeking help. Health Center staff assisted him with the Medicaid application process and helped him gain emancipated status from his parents, allowing him to get additional financial aid.
John got the surgery he needed and his girlfriend moved in to help him recover. The WMU Sports Medicine Clinic provided physical therapy to return him to functioning. While recovering, John and his girlfriend became parents, and he turned to working the night shift at Wal-Mart full time to provide for his new family. He maintained a full class load but the increased income forced him out of Medicaid.
The physical strain of round-the-clock work, study and lack of sleep led to increasing illness. Compounded by the stress of new fatherhood as a full-time student, John found himself in a health crisis.
The Staufer Emergency Fund stepped in to cover the cost of Health Center visits and prescriptions, relieving financial pressure, and allowing John’s health to improve. Without using his maximum Emergency Fund allotment, John was able to pull out of a downhill slide and regain health. Feeling better again, he pushed himself to do well academically and as a provider for his family.
After four years, he is on track to graduate and has a clear plan for his future. He’s been connected to internships with the help of professors who recognized his talent and commitment. John shares this sentiment with us: “You feel like you’re wanted at Sindecuse, they help you get back to being able to do what you want to do.”
*We’ve changed the student’s name to protect privacy.