Abigail Lawrence has a dream: to open her own theater company and help build local youth theater opportunities. Pursuing her dream meant leaving a steady job at a state university – and the health insurance she relied on – and moving back to Portland and a variety of jobs that didn’t provide health coverage. When she came to us for her first visit in mid-September, it was for follow-up of a leg wound that she worried could turn into something serious. She didn’t know there was a far bigger threat to her health. Our volunteers discovered that Abigail’s blood pressure was 209/143. With a family history of hypertension but no obvious symptoms, Abigail knew she might have problems with her blood pressure someday but didn’t imagine it would happen until she was older. By the end of her first visit, Abigail had a prescription for free blood pressure medication from volunteer Dr. Debbie Murphy, an order for lab tests donated by Legacy Health System and a follow-up appointment. With frequent visits and medication adjustments, Abigail’s pressure came down from dangerously high levels to near normal within six weeks. Her decision, as she says, “to get busy living” has also been critical to her success. The theater company is putting on their first production in the summer of 2013. When they make it big, says Abigail, she plans to give back to North by Northeast for the care and dedication of our volunteers and staff and all we have given her. We’ll be right there, cheering her on!