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Patsy Perkal has a passion for service and a heart for helping developmentally disabled people

Posted at 8:53 AM, Jul 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-27 10:57:19-04

DENVER — Looking at Patsy Perkal, you would never know the curveballs life has thrown at her.

"I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid arthritis back in '89, '90 and it was pretty debilitating," Perkal said.

Instead of giving up, she got involved.

"I get out of bed because I know there's a purpose out there for me," Perkal said.

She found that purpose launching the Arc Ambassador Civitan Club. It connects developmentally disabled people with service projects in their communities.

"If you're having a bad day, look at these guys and see what they do. There shouldn't be anything you can't do in this world," said Fred Matthies, Rocky Mountain Civitan club president.

Perkal, who is president of Civitan International, and the Arc Ambassadors recently delivered gift bags to the Irving Street Women's Shelter. It's part of Civitan International's Beach Bash, a beach-themed party Civitan members are throwing for people in long-term care or residential facilities.

"We're just brightening up someone's day. We're brightening up an area for people that maybe are in the darkness," Perkal said.

The benefits are two-fold. The ambassadors learn important life skills like leadership and organization. More importantly, they get something we are all craving right now —connection.

"I didn't really feel alone until the coronavirus, but the group has helped out in making you feel like you're not alone," said Arc Ambassador Michelle Knight.

Perkal said her work has helped her heal.

"There are days that I just don't feel good and I still get out there, I still do what I need to do. I do what needs to be done and at the end of the day, I feel better," she said.

Molly Hendrickson anchors Denver7 in the mornings from 4:30-7 a.m. She also features a different 7Everyday Hero each week on Denver7. Follow Molly on Facebook here and Twitter here. To nominate a hero in your life, click here.