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Patient Stories

See firsthand what God is doing in the lives of our patients through the compassionate care received at Covenant Community Care.


Anthony Ventimiglia grew up on Detroit’s east side and remembers it fondly, “I used to be on Fort Street and Joseph Campau. There were Polish, Italian, and Greek families; we had a wonderful time!” He’s spent his whole life in the Detroit area, and his daughter Bev takes care of his paperwork now, as Anthony is in his 90s. Recently, Bev has struggled to find affordable care for his teeth.

Anthony found a good dentist who made him a solid upper partial denture, but, “He wanted a lot of money and thought my insurance would cover it. They didn't, and you know it kind of upset me a little bit.” Anthony knew he’d have to find a better solution for his lower partial denture.

Bev found Covenant Community Care through her work at St. John Hospital and before long, Covenant's Dr. Ron Konopka was working with Anthony. He not only repaired the original denture but ended up doing a complete replacement! Dr. Konopka says “With forty years of experience, I’ve seen a few partials. We redesigned it & made a new one and it fit perfect! It’s just been awesome!”Anthony is incredibly thankful. “I think the Lord put us all together here and it’s been wonderful because my belief is that we may not have it all together but together we have it all and over here [at Covenant] everybody worked as a good team.” He's the kind of person you help when you give to Covenant Community Care.


After their second visit, Dr. Jeffrey Ghioto, Covenant's Westland Medical Director, referred patient Lorenzo to a stress test after hearing irregular sounds while checking his heart with a stethoscope.The results of the test were not good: Lorenzo had major problems with his aortic valves and needed an emergency quadruple heart bypass.“[After] I had my procedure, I walked my first 300 feet, I looked up to the heavens [and] said, ‘God, something's not right. Two days later, they had to break my sternum again [and] go back in.”After his second surgery, Lorenzo’s health rapidly declined. “My kidneys had shut down, [and] I was on temporary dialysis. My heart had stopped, my wife was crying. She had everyone on the phone talking to me. I was praying and I remember [a] young [nurse] was massaging my heart. Her name was Angel, and everything just came back. I came through it.”Lorenzo was in the worst place, after he left the hospital. This marathon runner and independent person was relegated to a bed, unable to walk or perform basic functions for himself. “I had to hold on a walker. I couldn’t walk and I had to stay upstairs. I had to have nurses come to my house.” Yet his mind, body, and spirit persisted, and he was determined to work.

Lorenzo finished his physical rehabilitation in just 26 weeks and credits his life to God & his connection to Covenant.

Covenant is a place people like Lorenzo can come and develop loving relationships with compassionate medical, dental, and behavioral health providers.

God used the team at Covenant Westland to play a part in saving Lorenzo’s life, and our Westland clinic is open today because of partner organizations, churches, and supporters like you.


Blanche, from Detroit says she was “born into sadness.” She was abused physically, mentally, and emotionally most of her life.  Her sadness turned into “depression, loneliness, pain and a broken spirit.”

“I was sinking into despair and depression on a daily basis…my days got darker and darker.  I was unable to care for myself mentally and emotionally...I just went through the motions pretending that I was ok, but clearly I wasn’t.”

Years ago, Blanche’s sister was diagnosed with breast cancer.   Covenant Community Care’s Joy Road Medical Director Dr. Kai Palm called to check on her after the surgery, and it made a big impression on Blanche. When
she needed to change her doctor because the practice no longer accepted her insurance, her sister suggested she go to Covenant.

The moment she met Dr. Palm and Nurse Smith she knew that they cared about their patients.

“I know when I come to Covenant, I know without a doubt…I’m going to be taken care of like I [am] a Queen. [When] I walk in…from the front door to the back…we are taken care of and that’s what sets [Covenant] apart.  I now want to come to the doctor because I know…I am going to get taken care of.

Blanche never thought she had purpose or that she mattered until she got connected with a support group at Covenant Community Care. It was there she realized she was bruised but not broken.

Covenant’s Joy Road Staff Psychologist Dr. Michelle McGarrity worked with Blanche for years to
get her to see her true potential.

“I just remember, typical when you’re struggling with depression you feel so…there’s this unmerited guilt. I just said [to myself] this person that’s presenting here and what she’s thinking and feeling about herself do not go together. But the block of the depression will not allow [her] to see that. And so, I was just like ‘we’re going to get to that place. This time next year it will be a different story as long as you show up for yourself.’”

She is now walking in God’s power and grace.

“I stand before you victorious and free. Free from the bondage. I stand before you, whole and redeemed in Jesus name.”

Dr. McGarrity can attest to the transformation.

“The person I know now when I look back on that day… it’s very hard…Wow! Talk about complete change! But it was something you could see in [Blanche]. You could see those good qualities…love on the inside. [She] deserve[d] to express those things, and depression was clouding [the vibrant colors].”

Because of your support, we can provide physical, emotional, and spiritual healing to everyone who needs it. Nobody deserves to be abused, neglected, or rejected. People deserve to express the beauty that God has put in their hearts and minds.  

Your belief in our mission provides our patients with access to faith-based primary care and to mental health services including the gifts of support groups and one-on-one counseling. You give our people the courage to share their stories and inspire them to help others who are struggling.

Blanche’s long-term goal is to speak to suicide survivors, or people who are contemplating suicide, because of the healing she received at Covenant Community Care,

“I see myself in a group, where there are round tables and I want to shake every one’s hand... so they can touch me and know I’m the person that survived all this stuff that you’re hearing.  Me, my nice looking self, with my suit, I survived this, and I survived for you.”


Julia Guevara did not feel safe outside in her neighborhood, had shut herself in for two years, and was slowly drifting into depression. Things began to change when she was invited to join Covenant Community Care’s MI Care Team, a new program created to provide patients with extra support in overcoming barriers to a healthier life.

“The team deals with us all in one program, but they know we are all different. They know how to put [a plan to help us achieve health goals] together and it works!

Ester Gallegos, one of Covenant’s Community Health Workers, calls patients to connect them with group health and fitness opportunities and to offer transportation. Ester also helps make connections even though participants come from different walks of life. “Not only do I get to meet people, It spurs me on to want to take care of myself better. It gives me energy and motivates me.”


Several years ago, Junail Hill was diagnosed with stage III cancer. Because of the cancer she had to take time off from work as a medical services administrator. When she was able to return to work, Ms. Hill was in so much pain from the treatments that she eventually lost her job. She then lost her apartment and moved in with a relative. Eventually, the living situation deteriorated and by early 2015 she was compelled to leave with nowhere else to go. In a short time, she went from earning a steady income and having her own place to living on the street.

The moment Ms. Hill walked through the doors of Covenant Community Care she knew something was different. “At my first visit, I saw a nurse calming a patient. I couldn’t help but pay attention. It was her choice of words and her mannerisms.” Immediately, she felt at ease.

“Covenant Staff played a great role in opening doors for me. Dr. Kai Palm was caring, she really listened and helped me keep the faith. There is that saying ‘in one ear and out the other.’ It was the exact opposite. She was concerned about me, asked about things and remembered details from my previous visits.”

Through the help of an attorney, Junail qualified for a housing voucher program and she located an apartment. In November 2015, she moved into her new place. All the while, she was regularly cared for at Covenant.

“God was keeping me! I would pour out my heart to Dr. Palm. I was always anxious to get to the clinic for that support. I just needed to tell her about the good things that were happening.”

Junail continues to get primary care at Covenant. She says of her experience, “Covenant people are people of God. If I hadn’t gone I would not be here today. They set me on the right path.”


When James Hardy experienced Covenant Community Care at an outreach event, most of his teeth were either fractured or severely decayed and had to be taken out. Two oral surgery interns, through our partnership with the University of Detroit Mercy Oral Surgery program, provided him with the initial extractions and fitted him for dentures.

James had some concerns about getting his new dentures. “I don’t want to have someone say… ‘Dang, he must have just got those!’ I wanted my teeth worked on so they looked used, like old regular teeth.” After receiving the upper portion of the denture, James confessed that friends and family told him that his new teeth didn’t really look like him. Dr. Lynn Eickholt, Covenant’s Chief Dental Officer, immediately stepped in to address his concerns.

When recalling his experience with Dr. Lynn, James said, “…she takes her time and she does what you ask [for]. I was comfortable and it helped me have patience [throughout the process]” Dr. Eickholt asked James to put his teeth in and realized there were some bite issues. Dr. Lynn shared that often in Detroit, she sees patients that have ill-fitting, poorly made, and/or defective dentures. She cares for patients that oftentimes can’t close their mouths properly and even cannot eat. “I made it a mission of mine that if we do a case and it’s not functioning well, we’re going to make it right.” James patiently waited for Covenant to make it right and in the meantime became like family to the team.

“When we deliver someone’s dentures, it’s like a party,” said Dr. Lynn. When he finally received his new teeth, James shared, “I got some beautiful teeth. They are perfect. Perfect.”