This is Vicki, the kindest, gentlest woman alive, and the best thing in my life. A single mother, she raised me, my younger sister, and my younger brother by working a string of minimum wage jobs and sleeping on a pull-out sofa bed for years. As we struggled to maintain our working-poor existence in the suburbs of Detroit, my mom did everything in her power to ensure that we had a happy childhood. I was and am a strange child, but she loved and accepted me, which influenced me to love and accept others. Everything good in me--my intellectual curiosity, my compassion, my live-and-let-live approach to those who are different from me--comes from her.
My mother's life has not been easy. Following a turbulent marriage to an absentee husband, she was forced to re-enter the workplace with a 10-year gap in her employee history. Though she was once her high school's valedictorian and an honors student at Purdue University, that gap made it difficult for her to secure a sustainable income, especially in an area as economically depressed as Detroit. She has had a steady job for the past eight years, but the pay is low, and she has always been one short step away from financial disaster. In 2009, she lost her son, my baby brother, in a swimming accident. This year, both my sister and I moved to opposite sides of the country, leaving her completely alone. Though the move was necessary for me to pursue my own financial stability, it kills me watching her struggle from so far away.
Recently, my mother's car was rear-ended and wound up totaled. She was never able to afford insurance, which means she didn't receive any money to put toward the lease or purchase of a new vehicle. Every day, she takes an Uber to and from work. In part because of this, she is contemplating filing for bankruptcy. That worries me. She is currently top of her class in her school's radiology program, but bankruptcy would make it impossible for her to get loans to continue schooling. All her dreams for a better life--destroyed in an instant. This is just one of many dire consequences bankruptcy would have.
To stave off financial ruin, my mom needs a new car as soon as possible. I've done some research, and it seems that, with $1500, she would be able to lease a vehicle. As a starving graduate student, I don't have the money. Which is why I'm turning to you, kind strangers who may be willing to help pull my mom back from the brink of diasaster.
She's done so much for me, at such great personal cost to herself. I want nothing more than to take care of her. If you could pitch in--even just a tiny bit--I would be inexpressibly grateful. If you don't have money to give, your kind thoughts are enough.
All my love,
- Barb McConnell
- Colleen Greene
- Tong Li
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