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Frank O’Neill

 

“Darlene!” exclaimed Frank O’Neill running toward Darlene Lopez, his SCARC Guardianship Services, Inc. caseworker. He is always happy to see Darlene when she comes to visit him. 

Frank is a very special person to SCARC Guardianship Services, Inc. and more specifically to Darlene. Since 1992 when the organization became his guardian, Darlene has been like his family, seeing him through everything that he has faced during the last 19 years.

“He’s a miracle,” said Darlene. “He has come so far and a number of times we thought he was going to leave us due to his heart condition, and every time he comes out on top with a smile on his face.  He is such a great guy with a loving personality."

From one institution to another, Frank has lived a majority of his life without any family and in psychiatric hospitals. His only known living relatives are his siblings who also have developmental disabilities and their whereabouts are unknown.

Frank has a dual diagnosis, which means he has developmental disabilities and a psychiatric diagnosis.  Frank also has a number of health problems, including congestive heart failure. 

Over the years Darlene has worked very closely with Frank and his team of doctors, therapists, and other caregivers to keep his behaviors under control, make sure his medications are appropriate for him, and allow him to blossom as an individual.

SCARC Guardianship Services, Inc. has seen him through several crisis situations which included preventing him from returning to the psychiatric hospital where Frank says he was abused.   When doctors found that Frank had a hole in his heart, Darlene found a cardiologist from Manhattan who came to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Paterson, New Jersey and repaired his heart while accepting Medicaid, the only medical insurance Frank has.  

He returned to the group home and back to his normal life, only to begin falling down in pain.   He was diagnosed with severe arthritis in one hip.  A pain specialist prescribed a medication that almost took his life.   He now uses a walker and can only take Tylenol for his pain.  Aging has been hard on Frank.  

Thankfully, due to the watchful eye of SCARC Guardianship Services, Inc. and his dear Darlene, Frank has overcome the challenges life has thrown at him.   He has returned to SCARC Guardianship Services, Inc. the precious gifts of friendship and love and has a life worth living.   He is a true miracle.

 

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