Pharmacists in King of Prussia are putting the town on a map of inspiration

Melissa Akacha, of King of Prussia, PA, had no idea what to expect when she approached the overloaded car in the parking lot of Target, according to a story that ran in the Philadelphia Inquirer on May 10, 2019.

Akacha felt it was her duty to offer assistance to the troubled car-dweller. As a pharmacist, Akacha was just doing what she was trained to do. She was reaching out to a person in need, not realizing that person could possibly be a peer.

She suspected that the person inside the car was a hoarder and/or addict of some sort, homeless, and living in the car to avoid the streets. She was correct on the latter two counts. What she didn’t expect was to find a pharmacist who had fallen on hard times.

The woman in the car turned out to be Lynn Schutzman, a pharmacist who had seen her comfortable life in the middle-class town come to an end when, several years earlier, she suddenly lost her husband, her health, and eventually her house, all because of medical bills she could not afford to pay and family members who took advantage of her kind nature and her finances. Schutzman admitted that, because of her lucrative career, she did not think she could ask anyone for help. As it turns out, no one is immune to tragedy.

Within days of Akacha meeting Schutzman, a committee of professional women had formed to donate time, money, and goods to helping Schutzman get out of the car and in a safe housing arrangement. After a career of providing services to the community, Schutzman’s future is looking brighter thanks to one pharmacist who inspired that same community to return the favor. 

Leah Shumoski can certainly attest to the need to be there for one another. Shumoski is not only a pharmacist, but a high school girls’ basketball coach. In another story that ran in the Philadelphia Inquirer on May 19, 2019, it was reported that when some of the girls were in a devastating car crash last summer, she raced home from Italy, cutting her vacation short to be at their sides and to be there for the other members of the team.

With Shumoski’s guidance, support, and assistance, the girls recovered from their injuries well enough to return to school and eventually, to the team. They credit Shumoski’s encouragement with keeping the team together and getting through the darkest of times.

Whether any of the girls will pursue a career in pharmacy has yet to be seen.