Unforeseen disasters – including Hurricane Katrina, devastating health issues and the stock market meltdown of 2008 – completely upended the financial stability of 68-year-old retired cardiologist Dieter Schneider. Now he’s an Uber driver struggling to make ends meet and stay warm and safe at home.
Schneider practiced medicine for 24 years. He started in Denver, then was recruited to Mississippi where he and his office manager wife, Victoria, built a thriving practice. “We had an outreach program in the community to help some of our struggling patients. We never dreamed we’d be in their situation,” Victoria said.
In 2001, at age 54, Victoria suffered a major stroke. They closed their office and moved back to Colorado to be near their children’s families while Dieter managed Victoria’s care. A month later Hurricane Katrina hit – and washed away all of their real estate investments back in Mississippi. Two years later, one of their daughters unexpectedly died. What remained of their retirement savings evaporated during the 2008 recession.
In 2009 they suffered another setback when Victoria was diagnosed with chronic lymphatic leukemia. To cover the additional medical expenses they sold some of their remaining possessions and borrowed from family and friends.
Fortunately, Victoria’s health has stabilized and they work together part-time, driving vehicles back and forth from Denver for a local car dealership. Dieter recently became an Uber driver to supplement their social security income.
“It’s humbling to reach out and ask for help," Dieter said. "You find yourself doing whatever it takes, but sometimes you find yourself still short. It’s an immense relief to get caught up on our energy bill, which has allowed us to pay some of our other bills that were due so we can get back on our feet. Thank God for services like yours.”