Newcomer Testimonial – Kelly Hughes

Newcomer Testimonial – Kelly Hughes

SGA Connections’  Lakeland Greeter, Zellna, welcoming newcomer, Kelly.

“It all Started with a Stranger Who Offered Information and Friendship…”

I moved to Lakeland, Georgia to be closer to the Mayo Clinic while trying to get on the heart transplant list. I did not know anyone in Lakeland. I was truly alone going through heart failure and knowing I had very little time left. I was scared and worried about what was in my future but was trying very hard to have faith Jesus would take care of me. It was not long after moving, I was welcomed by Lakeland Greeter, Zellna Shaw. She provided me with local information and invited me to the Lakeland United Methodist Church after hearing my story.

I went to the Sunday Service at church and was welcomed by very friendly people and a sermon that felt like Pastor Rick was talking directly to me. Over the next few weeks, I started meeting more people who also treated me like they had known me for years. I was introduced to Mr. Lloyd Shaw and was invited to his house to meet his family. Over the next year while getting on the heart transplant list and waiting to get that phone call, the church and the Shaw family became like my family. This included Lloyd, his wife Margaret Ann, their children, grandchildren, family members who do not live in Lakeland, their friends around town and more. They all treated me like family. I was no longer alone with no chain of support.

Aug 2, 2021, it will be 2 years post-transplant. I am very healthy and have had zero rejection. I would have never made it through the last 3 years without the support I received from the church and once strangers that I now consider family.


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