A local resident is working miracles for patients who come to the city for medical treatment. NY1’s Jessica Abo filed the following report.
When Nita Pippins 33-year-old sick son Nick was diagnosed with AIDS in 1986, she left her life in Florida and came to New York to care for her only child.
"He was an actor. He did a lot of commercials,” Pippins says of her son.
Nick died three years later. Around that time, someone trying to start a new organization for people living with AIDS asked Pippins for her input.
"I knew for people to be able to come up here and stay for a length of time it's very expensive, and if they had a place to stay longer, that didn't cost a lot, they could have a place to see their sons,” says Pippins.
And, so the Miracle House was born. In the last 20 years, the organization has welcomed more than 15,000 out-of-state patients and caregivers. Guests only pay $50 a night to stay at one of the group's five Manhattan apartments.
Thanks to Pippins, guests also have a place to eat for free. She started a free breakfast program, which she used to pay for herself, so guests never felt alone. She even used to sit down with the patients, caregivers, and the volunteers every morning.
Recently, the 83-year-old has scaled back her hours, visiting the breakfast program once a week.
"I really wanted to get the mothers together and let them know that my son died of AIDS. And that it was very painful. And, at that time, if you had a son with AIDS, you were shunned,” says Pippins. “And I wanted them to know there were other people living with the same problem.”
Oklahoma resident Rhonda Rowe stays at one of the Miracle House apartments whenever she comes to the city for treatment for a rare parathyroid illness. Before she heard about the program, she spent $300 a night on hotels.
She says Miracle House, and volunteers like Pippins, are a godsend.
“She's wonderful. I am just so thankful that there are people out there that love people so much that they would start a place like this,” says Rowe.
So for putting her heart into making New York feel like home for out-of-town patients and their caregivers, Nita Pippins is the New Yorker of the Week.
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