Mack says people tell him he should write a book about his life, but he doesn’t know if the world is ready to read it.
“I've been through a whole lot of stuff,” he says.
Born in the Washington D.C. area, Mack bounced around unstable living situations throughout his childhood and into his teenage years. At 17 years old, he learned his younger sister needed a kidney transplant — so he donated his.
Years later, Mack began experiencing numerous health problems himself. He lost the ability to walk. And sadly, his sister, whom he was taking care of and living with, died in 2019.
Facing homelessness and still in tremendous pain from his health issues, Mack came to western Pennsylvania with his son. He was connected to UPMC McKeesport, where he was diagnosed with a tumor in his aorta that was causing his inability to walk.
“I cried at that point,” he says. “I was like, ‘You’re going to help me walk?’ And it was like, ‘Yeah, we’re going to help you walk. We’re going to help you get back on your feet.’”
Not only did UPMC doctors perform a surgery that enabled Mack to walk again, but his care team also helped him find a home. They connected Mack with Community Human Services (CHS), a Western Pennsylvania organization that helps people find stable living situations and other needed resources. UPMC is proud to partner with CHS in its mission.
“There’s a lot of people that were in my corner,” he says of the UPMC doctors, nurses, and staff who cared for him.
After a short stay in a homeless shelter, Mack moved into a three-bedroom house that CHS found. He now shares the home with his daughter.
Mack’s health has improved greatly from when he first came to western Pennsylvania. He can walk much easier and is back to working out.
Mack believes life is what you make of it. And although he faced numerous challenges in his life, he always felt determined to stay off the streets and provide a better life for his family. He’s thankful for the people who helped him on his journey.
“I almost gave up, but it's a whole new life now,” he says. “I could have never foreseen being here. I came here to do what I'm doing, and that's to carve out a new life, find a new life in a whole new place that I've never been.”
At UPMC, Life Changing Medicine means giving people a chance.
Learn more about how Community Human Services (CHS) helps individuals in our community connect with residential support and other critical resources.
Working in partnership with the University of Pittsburgh and a wide range of community organizations, we are committed to improving the health of the communities we serve.
Life Changing Medicine at UPMC is made possible every day through the generosity of numerous individuals, corporations and foundations.
With volunteers ranging from teens to seniors and options involving office work or patient care, there's a place for all qualifying volunteers at nearly two dozen UPMC hospitals.