I live my life through the words of my mother. She taught me that by serving the Lord and staying true to my faith, I can look after my family. I’ve gone through a lot of struggles in my life, but without hardship we don’t get to appreciate the wonderful things. Being homeless for so long was one of the lowest times in my life, but with a community like Earthlinks, I can appreciate the love and support that I am surrounded by. I don’t know where I would be today without their help.
My name is Kathy, and I was born and raised in Pueblo, Colorado. Any time I visit Pueblo it feels bittersweet. When I was about 1 ½ years old, I fell out of a high chair and hit my head on the ground. It wasn’t long after that my parents knew something was terribly wrong with me because I started to have frequent seizures. Being the 1960s, a lot of the doctors we went to did not understand why I was having seizures. After meeting with a neurologist in Pueblo, my family found out that I had developed epilepsy from my head injury.
Growing up with such a severe disability was difficult, but I made the best out of growing up as I could. When my father wasn’t being a problem for my mother and siblings, he took us out into nature and sometimes go camping in the wild. I came to really appreciate the outdoors from those trips and was fascinated by my father’s hunting lifestyle. That same hunter’s mentality shaped me to have a competitive edge well into my teens. I loved doing swimming, track, and gymnastics! Even with other kids constantly teasing me because of my epilepsy, sports were my release. Sometimes I’d find myself in trouble on the playground for beating up on the boys. I was a bit of a troublemaker at the time, but I considered it standing up for myself.
My life changed when I became pregnant at age 16, but years later I find myself grateful for my children and grandchildren. I moved out to Denver, where I raised my family and things were stable for a while. That stability didn’t last. Around mid 2000s, I started to experience my seizures more than ever. What a lot of people don’t realize about my seizures is that they are grand mal. I’ll lose consciousness first and then violently convulse for a while. I think my seizures are triggered from stress. At that time I was struggling with the news that one of my grandchildren was on the verge of death after birth. Around the same time, I lost my home due to foreclosure and ended up on the streets of Denver. Not all was lost though, my beautiful grandchild made his way into this world.
I was homeless for about 8 years. If I couldn’t couch surf among my family, I was often in shelters trying to get by. It wasn’t until I heard about Earthlinks from friends that I knew someone up there was looking over me. I joined Earthlinks in 2012, when we were still at the Larimer location. A few years have gone by, and I’m so proud of the community that I am part of. I truly believe that with faith and empowerment, I have achieved the goals I have set for myself. I was able to get into housing, and quickly after, Earthlinks helped me furnish my new home with a sofa, rug, and chairs!
Since then I’ve found a neurologist that I’m comfortable with and who helps me keep a healthy and stress-free life. Now I only need to go in for an M.R.I and E.G.G once a year. I’m forever grateful to Earthlinks for the help and resources that they have provided for me. It’s encouraged me to give back to my church, and my community. I help those that I see in the streets as much as I can, whether it be through church activities or in the spur of the moment, since I know how important it can be to reach out your hand and help someone.