Having someone to lean on is one of life's greatest comforts. Sadly, we all go through hard times, but somehow, it's a little easier to get over the hurdles when friends or family lend a hand.

This Ulster County man, despite facing medical problems, was doing his best to hold his own. Five years ago, a car accident had left him disabled. But he managed to work part-time to supplement his assistance income.

And fortunately, he had someone to lean on: Family and friends provided as much support as they could.

Then last fall, the over-50 man received some unwelcome news. He was diagnosed with colon cancer. Determined to overcome the disease, he sought medical treatment, resulting in surgery and chemotherapy.

Fighting cancer was draining - mentally, physically and financially - and one month, he found he wasn't able to pay his rent. Enter the Times Herald-Record's People for People Fund, which provides temporary emergency financial assistance to qualified residents of the Record's readership area - Orange, Sullivan and Ulster counties in New York and parts of Pike County, Pa.

Help is offered to people who have been able to financially support themselves until a major unexpected event changed their circumstances. The expectation is that recipients will go back to being self-supporting afterward.

In this case, the one-time grant of a month's rent made a crucial difference in this man's life during a time of worry and uncertainty. Now he looks forward to resuming some semblance of normalcy.

"He is returning to work next week," said Marsi Clark, People for People executive director.