Jason Schaffer is going through hundreds of thousands of dollars in doctor's bills with his new community support specialist.
Schaffer is dealing with viral encephalitis, a swelling of the brain that causes him painful headaches and affects his short-term memory.
He can no longer work and had to leave his job as a restaurant manager in Christiansburg.
He has to take 21 pills a day and every month he has to figure out a way to pay $3,000 for prescription medicine, along with seeing two to three doctors a week.
"I think that when you're healthy and everything is going along ok, you don't realize the type of challenges some people face," Schaffer says. "I was 37 when this happened, and of course I never thought of being 37 and having my life changed as dramatically as it has."
A $25,000 grant from the Earl and Carrie Leigh Doran fund, given to the Foundation for Roanoke Valley to handle, is turning Schaffer's life around.
"It allows for us to provide community support services or what others might know as 'life skills training' to our neediest clients," saysMae Johnson with Brain Injury Services of Southwest Virginia.
Johnson and says now they can provide Schaffer with one-on-one support.
The specialist helps him organize bills, remind him and go with him to doctor's visits, and find affordable ways to pay for prescriptions.
"You lose a lot of your dignity, and that's hard," Schaffer says. "Being able to receive help from people like Brain Injury Services allows me to regain some of that, and that's important for recovery."
Now, Schaffer says he doesn't feel so alone in battling this brain injury. He says the new training is beyond priceless.