Story of Hope | Louise

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Louise never thought one day she would be one of the people we see on the corner asking for help or sleeping on a bench. After all, she had a great house, a nice car, and what seemed to be a happy middle-class life.  All that changed when she made the decision to leave her marriage and a life of physical abuse.

Her husband made sure she left with only their four children – no money, no car, and no house.  But Louise was determined to make a better life for herself and her children, so she worked three jobs, and they got by until Louise had a medical crisis.  She could no longer work, and once again, they lost everything: the car she had worked so hard to buy, their home, and their stability. With only the clothes on their back and what they could carry, they became homeless, but she refused to become hopeless.

After having surgery, she knew she needed bed rest, so she used the little money they had for one night in a motel, then she returned to the streets with her children. What is remarkable is that during the ten months, they spent on the streets, she kept all of her children in school.  It was not easy – the children were judged and oftentimes ridiculed by students AND teachers for their appearance and lack of grooming.  There were humiliation and health struggles, but she was determined to push on.  She knew she was the only person who could make it better for her family, sharing that help is hard to come by because “people do not like ugly and dirty.”

Louise was finally able to find a job and was able to get her family into an apartment.  It was not much, be she finally felt she could breathe.  Then tragedy struck again; her oldest son had what she thought was just strep throat.  As he continued to decline, they knew it was more.  He had a heart attack when the infection moved into his bloodstream.  As they fought for his life, her younger son began to have severe breathing problems, also landing in the ICU and fighting for his life.  The medication he had been receiving for routine asthma-type issues was not the right medication; the medication caused his lungs to start shutting down.  As both boys fought for their lives, Louise was advised that Medicaid did not cover the medications and treatments her sons desperately needed.  As she tried to cover the $700+ a month cost for medications and treatments, she could no longer afford the payments on the car. But, she did not give up – she walked the 4-plus miles to work because she knew she needed to keep pushing forward, saying, “It takes an awful lot of strength to keep going.”

Finally, after 10 months on our waiting list for the Catholic Charities Cars for Charity program, she heard the news from our Castle Rock office; she was going to receive a car that had been donated!  She felt she would finally be able to save herself and her children from the humiliation of the past few years.  She could arrive at work clean, and her children could arrive at school and doctor’s appointments energized and ready to take on the day.  She said, “Whoever donated this car, WOW!.”  She proudly reported that shortly after receiving the car, she’d be able to take on a second job and drive her oldest son to his last cardiologist appointment.  He has survived nearly losing his life, and both boys are doing much better.  Through it all, her faith has remained strong.  She has taught her children that “God did not put you on this earth to fail.”

While there is a long way to go, Louise knows they will make it.  She wants the donor of the car to know that this generous donation means everything to her and her children.  She also wants everyone to remember that “just because you are struggling, does not mean that you are a bad person.”

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