Because of the caring staff at Catholic Charities, Taymara says she is able to live a healthy life and help others.
Days after her 40th birthday, Taymara was rushed to the emergency room. She had been experiencing moderate to severe chest pains for months, but this time it was different. Taymara was having a heart attack.
“The first thing that went through my mind was, ‘I don’t want to die. I want to live.’”
Taymara had 90 percent blockage of an artery due to high cholesterol, stress and years of heavy smoking. After having heart surgery, Taymara said her view on life changed dramatically.
“I believe God wanted me to live that day, and I look at life through a new window. I have to take medications for the rest of my life to stay alive. I stopped smoking, but my medications are important.”
However, when Taymara lost her job as a Drug and Alcohol Counselor in 2009 due to budget cuts, she could no longer afford her normal living expenses, including her prescriptions.
On the Other Side
“When I was a counselor here in Mansfield, I referred a lot of people to Catholic Charities because I knew the staff members were always willing to give people a hand up to get out of their situation regardless of their background,” Taymara said. “I found myself on the other side of the fence, so I took my own advice.”
Taymara contacted Catholic Charities and was referred to the Community Emergency Services program.
Community Emergency Services helps families and individuals in Richland and Huron Counties who are struggling to manage finances, pay bills or maintain a stable residence.
“I met Laurie Hamrick, Catholic Charities Case Manager, and she made me feel welcome. Laurie listened to what I needed. Laurie and the staff at Catholic Charities treated me with respect.”
“Laurie registered me for money management training classes. After completing my classes, I was able to receive the finances I need to pay for my medication.”
It has been over four years since her first meeting at Catholic Charities, and Taymara says that because of the help she has received, she no longer needs prescription assistance.
Today, Taymara dedicates her time to helping others in her community achieve their greatest potential and continues to refer people to Catholic Charities.
“I truly think God saved me so I could help someone else. I don’t know what I would’ve done if it weren’t for Catholic Charities. My life really depended on their help. I am so thankful for Laurie and Catholic Charities for what they did to save my life.”
One hour before being taken off life-support, Brianne’s heart miraculously started beating on its own. She had been on life-support for three and a half months before her family made the decision to pull the plug.
“I woke up to a different world”
Before that, Brianne had suffered through a massive heart attack at age 26, followed by a stroke that caused her to go blind in her right eye and multiple open-heart surgeries. After waking up, her whole life was turned upside down.
“I woke up and realized I couldn’t walk.” Due to being on life-support for three and a half months, Brianne lost her job and with no income she lost her house, too.
“My teeth were decaying and painful due to all the medications. The doctors told me if I didn’t have them out within a year, I could die from the (gum disease and gingivitis) infections that were in my mouth.”
Brianne saw a Catholic Charities’ pamphlet about getting financial help with medications. She had never heard of Catholic Charities before but decided to call and ask for help. She attended a workshop about medications and when she mentioned her problems with infections, Laurie of Catholic Charities in Mansfield listened and told Brianne that Catholic Charities could help.
Brianne said, “I was scared and really embarrassed. Before having my teeth removed, trying to face family and friends looking the way I did with my rotted teeth was a sheer nightmare. Without having my teeth removed, I would have died, and that’s a scary thing.”
Family dentists wouldn’t treat Brianne because of the risk with her heart. Laurie connected her with oral surgeons at a dental school and Catholic Charities was able to help with funding the procedure and her new smile.
“God was looking over me. I feel much better physically since having my teeth removed because I am no longer in the tremendous amount of pain I was in,” said Brianne, now age 34.
“I’ve realized that God wanted me to live. Not only have I been saved once, but I’ve also been saved twice. Now I have more confidence in myself because I have a beautiful smile. I feel amazing. I feel like a whole different person – I am a different person really. I know that there’s actually someone out there that does care”
“Don’t ever give up when there is hope out there. There is an angel somewhere and Catholic Charities has been my angel. They have really been a blessing to me.”
“Catholic Charities has given me a chance to live, and I pray each day and thank God for Laurie and the Catholic Charities organization for all their help and support. Without Catholic Charities in my life, I might not be here today.”
“I finally have my smile back and it means the world to me. I can finally regain confidence through my smile and not feel ashamed to speak.”
“Thank God for Catholic Charities. I feel I have my life back now. I thank God and all those involved that I will live a healthy, strong life.”
J. got her discharge from the Air Force in 1999, and since then, life has been difficult.
Chronic illness and back pain left her unable to finish her nursing degree.
Eventually, she lost her home and her car. Sadly, she had been living on the couches of friends and relatives for a year-and-a-half before she was referred to the Mansfield office of Catholic Charities by her Veteran’s Administration social worker.
Catholic Charities helped her with a deposit on a modest apartment, and a local retailer provided her with a bed set and basic furnishings, as well as a phone card to assist in her job search. J.’s ongoing rent payments are covered by a government H.U.D. program for veterans. But the program doesn’t cover deposits – which is where Catholic Charities was able to help.
‘The good you do is amazing’
A trip to Catholic Charities’ H.O.P.E. Pantry provided her with food staples and personal supplies. But it’s been difficult for J. to take assistance. “I always feel I should be giving rather than taking,” she said. Nonetheless, she is very grateful for what she has received:
“I don’t know where I would be today if it weren’t for the people at Catholic Charities. The good you do for people is nothing short of amazing.”
When Traci lost her job due to an unexpected illness, Catholic Charities helped her family get back on track.
Traci is a young widow from Mansfield who’s working to support her daughter and her two grandchildren. “I was working a good job, but I got sick and needed surgery. They kept me on the payroll for a while, but then they couldn’t any longer. Eventually even my unemployment ran out.”
Placing children at risk
What makes Catholic Charities different, Traci said, is that they don’t just tell you to fill out forms and get in line. They actually work with you to make sure you’re doing what you need to do. “They helped me with my rent and told me about the pantry so I could get some help putting food on my table.”
‘I wanted to tell people thank you’
“They visited me at home, found out what was going on and what I needed. Then they helped my daughter get signed up for school. And when they found that I’d suffered the loss of my husband, they even suggested I sign up for grief counseling.
“They really help you. They get involved. They get you on the right track. I’ve had wonderful caseworkers. I am so grateful to them.
“What really helped me was the budgeting class they give. It let me know how to handle my money better, so things don’t get out of control.”
Asked what she would say to the people who support Catholic Charities, Traci paused. Her eyes welled up with tears. “That’s why I said I would let you do a story about me. I wanted to tell people thank you. This is a wonderful group of people. If not for you, people like me who don’t have a job, who don’t have anywhere to turn, would be lost.
“God blesses everyone who helps others. I know he will bless you.”