A Helping Hand: Petra Reyes
Petra, mother of 4, is currently enrolled in the EHP Women’s Support Group. This is her story.
I came to EHP in 2003 after my husband was incarcerated and I was left with no way to support my children. My life has not been an easy one and it just seems like it is one problem followed by another. Not only have I been dealing with constant financial problems but recently, I have also had to deal with death and illness in my family. I became the guardian of my niece’s child who tragically passed away from SIDS on May 5, 2014. My father, whom I took care of after he suffered 2 strokes, passed on August 7, 2014. And my beloved mother was recently diagnosed with Lymphoma. In addition to all of this, I am a diabetic, suffer with depression and have to take medication for both.
I am no stranger to the stress that illness can bring. My 9 year old son, Joshua, was diagnosed with a genetically based disease at a young age. On his worst days, he can suffer over 13 seizures and the doctors can only do so much for him. He has suffered brain damage that continues to get worse with each seizure. He isn’t expected to live past his next birthday. I am devastated by life but I am trying to hold myself together for the sake of my other children.
Although it saddens me to know that I don’t have the support of my brothers, I do have amazing friends which include the staff at EHP. I call EHP whenever I feel lost and speak to a Case Manager or Lesia, the Executive Director. They always have the door open for me and I don’t know what I would do without their support. My family’s income is limited as I receive Social Security Disability and my husband’s part-time income when he can find work. EHP is a lifesaver providing the things that we need to live. My kids were only able to get their back to school supplies and clothes because of EHP’s help. I truly don’t know what I would do if EHP wasn’t in my life.
My son is now at the Stanford Children’s hospital. It is only a matter of time before he passes. I come to EHP often these days because seeing my son at the hospital is very painful for me. In October of 2014, doctors found a tumor in my brain. I have undergone chemo therapy and I just received news that there is a tumor spreading in my throat. I feel as though I am going to break down any day now, but with the constant support from my friends and EHP I know I can survive this.
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