Our Stories

When Margarita Lost Her Home to a Fire, Hope Fund Donors Had Her Back


Margarita and her dog Handsome

The HCA Healthcare Hope Fund receives requests for assistance from our colleagues in need all year long, but when the COVID-19 pandemic began the number of incoming applications tripled. Over the last 2 months more than $1.3 million in critical COVID-related assistance has been provided to help our colleagues and another $1.2 million to families facing every day crises – a cancer diagnosis, domestic violence or other situation. For Margarita San Juan it was a fire – disasters don’t pause for a pandemic.

“I heard someone shouting outside of my apartment,” she said. “I thought it was just kids at first, until I heard my building was on fire. Since no alarms were going off, I figured we’d be outside for 5 minutes and able to get back in. I went outside with my dog, Handsome, after grabbing my wallet, phone, and keys. Little did I know that would be the last time I would be in my apartment.”

Margarita stood outside in the rain with her neighbors and watched as the fire consumed 40 out of the 41 apartments in her community, including her own. “It was devastating to lose everything,” she said, “but I was fortunate to have been home at the time and able to save my dog. Some of my neighbors lost everything including their pets.” Margarita says the pandemic made everything about recovering from this tragedy more difficult – shortages of household supplies and businesses being closed – she said “it was a traumatic and overwhelming experience.”

Fortunately, Margarita knew where to turn for help. “My supervisor told me about the Hope Fund when I first started work. I thought it was a great concept – employees helping fellow employees during times of need. I was happy to support such a great cause through donating and volunteering.” Margarita applied for help and received it. “When you find yourself in a devastating situation and everything seems hopeless, it’s an incredible feeling to have the support of your colleagues, friends and family at HCA Healthcare. I don’t know what I would’ve done without them.”

To her colleagues, Margarita says, “I encourage everyone to support the Hope Fund in any way they can. Every little bit helps and you can make a difference in someone’s life by being there for them when they need it. If you ever find yourself in need, please reach out to the Hope Fund. It helps to know you are not alone when you are going through one of the darkest moments of your life. Let your HCA Healthcare family take care of you.”

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