A Georgia nurse has been praised for opening up her home to help a gravely sick autistic man.
Jonathan Pinkard, 27, was in need of a heart transplant when he was hit with some devastating news — he would going to be bumped down the list. Why? Because, according to standard policy, a pre-transplant evaluation must determine that the patient will be able to take care of themselves, including self-administering regular injections.
Then, while receiving treatment at Piedmont Newnan Hospital, he met nurse Lori Wood and his life changed forever.
“Jonathan was very sick, but he wasn’t eligible for a transplant because he didn’t have a support system,” Wood, 57, explained to TODAY Health. “One of the requirements is that you have someone to care for you afterwards.”
Knowing that Pinkard would likely be discharged to a men’s shelter, Wood knew she had to do something. So, she applied to become the man’s legal guardian. “I had to help him. It was a no-brainer,” Wood explained. “He would have died without the transplant.”
Pinkard moved in, and the pair were soon bonding over football and “Family Feud.”
“Jonathan has his chair, and I have my chair,” Wood said. “We like game shows and high five back and forth if we get an answer right. He is very loving.”
Wood is heavily involved in Pinkard’s care, keeping track of his medication and giving him rides to doctors’ appointments. She’s also teaching him vital life skills including how to handle his finances independently. “She treats me like one of her sons,” Pinkard said. “I am truly thankful for that.”
Thankfully, Jonathan went underwent a successful heart transplant in August and has been recovering well ever since. He plans to return to his job as an office clerk in December.
“It’s been a joy having Jonathan here with us,” Wood added. “I knew this is what I was supposed to do.”
On Twitter, Jonathan thanked his supporters “for all the prayers” and said he hoped his story would “be an inspiration.”
He concluded with a verse from the Bible, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” (Jeremiah 29:11, KJV).
A GoFundMe campaign has been launched for Jonathan and his continued treatment.
“I’m in need of your help again,” reads the latest update. “Due to Transportation back and forth for at least 2 days for each month traveling back and forth to Decatur for appointments monthly beginning next week this will be huge if you can help me until I can get my own transportation.”
Comments of support have been pouring in on the page. “Lori & Jonathan — you are both just so amazing!” one person wrote. “Lori – your forever selfless love and Jonathan – your forever tenacity in the face of any challenge — I love you both DEARLY!”
You can give to the fundraiser by heading here.