On a cold February day, Shelley opened the front door to her Oak Park apartment where she was greeted by a stack of sixteen newspapers and bags of unopened mail. It was the day after Valentine’s Day and the collection of backdated issues of Wednesday Journal felt more like love letters than local news. Shelley snuggled up in the quiet comfort of her own home and read them in chronological order from oldest to most recent. She was using them as a tool to track time she had lost.
In November of the previous year, a heart-related crisis landed Shelley in the emergency room and a series of subsequent surgeries and unexpected downturns kept in her the hospital for four months straight. Most of the time she was fighting for her life remains a blur to Shelley. Though she fought her way back to good health with the care of an outstanding medical team and support staff, she struggled to make sense of all that had happened to her.
“Coming home and reading those issues of Wednesday Journal grounded me. They helped me to re-connect to my community, focus on something other than myself and make some sense of the time I couldn’t account for while I was in and out of consciousness,” said Shelley. “I love Wednesday Journal. I read it cover-to-cover every week, but reading those issues felt like going back in time. They made me feel normal after four months when nothing was normal.”
Subscribers like Shelley and GCM donors appreciate the attention Growing Community Media publications give issues they care about and understand local newsrooms should not be taken for granted. We are grateful Shelley shared her story with us and we are proud she is part of our GCM community. Her perspective celebrates the unique way local news sources keep residents meaningfully connected to the people, events and institutions inside their newsworthy communities. At GCM it’s about more than news.
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