Laurens Electric Cooperative’s March recipient of the employee Pay it Forward funds is Outage Management Systems controller Mike Wilson.
Mike paid forward $500 to Laurens resident Michelle Powell, who needs expensive medical treatment for Lyme disease.
Michelle said, “I have been experiencing symptoms since I was 16. Gradually, my joints were damaged by a mystery illness. We treated symptoms as they appeared, but then the small seizures started. My breathing, heart, ability to think and remember, walk, write, see things – it was all affected.”
After visiting many doctors, Michelle said she discovered Lyme disease may be that cause of her symptoms after doing her own research. She now sees a Lyme disease specialist in Washington, D.C.
Mike said, “As someone who likes to be outdoors hunting and working with my retriever, Raven, Lyme disease is a concern. I know Michelle’s treatments are expensive and wanted to offset some of that burden.”
“Lyme dictates my life but I have gotten a lot better over years of treatment. However, none of my doctor visits are covered under insurance and my medications are frequently costly, especially since I often have to take them for a long time. Because I am unable to work, I rely on my parents to provide for me, which is very frustrating,” said Michelle.
“In the meantime, we struggle with the expense of treatment, so I very much appreciate the gift and want to thank Mr. Wilson and Laurens Electric Cooperative for paying it forward,” she added.
Laurens Electric’s Pay It Forward program, begun in 2015, was born out of a desire to continue the good work of the 75 Acts of Kindness community initiative.
Every Laurens Electric Cooperative employee is entered into a random drawing to receive $500 to pay forward in any way they choose. Each month a new name is drawn, and the employee then has one month to apply the funds toward their own act of kindness.
This initiative is budget-neutral; the funds will come from Laurens Electric’s charity events, which employee volunteers make possible.
Employees and the community will enable individual employees to help individuals in the community, and that’s a win-win situation.