Abandoned by her husband and her only daughter, 61-year-old Beryl D'silva had to keep going in life on her own, working as a housemaid in Dubai for the last 20 years.
Earlier this week, she collapsed near Oud Metha Metro Station.
There were no family or friends by her side at that time - but there were Good Samaritans, who sought help from the nearby St Mary's Catholic Church, which sent their team of doctors to check on her.
It turned out that she was one of the church's parishioners.
"Her husband is in Mumbai and has not been in touch with her for many years now, but we think the main cause of her falling sick was her daughter abandoning her and not keeping in touch after she got married," said Susan Jose Desmond, a social work volunteer at the church.
"She has no one she could call her own, and we feel that this was the reason behind the emotional stress that almost took her life."
D'silva, who hails from Mumbai, was assisted by the church's medical team that serves the community pro bono.
When they rushed her to the Rashid Hospital, it was found that a major valve of her heart was blocked and she required an immediate open-heart surgery.
Community comes to her rescue
Help then started pouring in from several people who knew D'silva, mostly those for whom she had worked.
The team of St Mary's Catholic Church also appealed to Dubai Hospital to consider the case on compassionate grounds, as the woman was in a life-threatening situation.
Dr Obaid Al Jassim, head of the cardiac department at Dubai Hospital, took charge of the case.
"It was Dr Obaid's beautiful words that left us speechless. When we told him that this lady has no one to call her own, he replied 'if she has no one then we are her family and we will take care of her'," Desmond told Khaleej Times.
"We saw the greatness and compassion shown to this distressed and helpless woman by the Dubai Health Authority and the Dubai government. It is a true reflection of the Year of Tolerance," she said.
D'silva successfully underwent the surgery, and she is currently under observation. She has been moved to a ward at the hospital, which waived off approximately Dh100,000 in bills.
"Thanks to all those who have done everything possible to bring this surgery to a good end. Dr Obaid and his team of medical staff at Dubai Hospital were extremely approachable, kind and merciful. God bless them," said Bishop Paul Hinder from St Mary's Catholic Church Dubai.
Desmond, who has been visiting D'silva regularly with other church staff, said: "The saddest thing is that no one from her family has come to see her. Only volunteers from the church and gurudwara have been visiting her.
"Although D'silva can barely speak, she sported a pleasant smile as she waved and whispered 'Thank you for looking after me'."
Click/tap here to subscribe to Khaleej Times news alerts on WhatsApp. Make sure you save the phone number under Contacts on your phone for uninterrupted service.ERROR: Macro /ads/dfp-ad-article-new is missing!