Oliver And Mommy's New Beginning

My 4-year-old son, Oliver, 12-year-old dog, Lady, and myself left our home in Georgia behind to start a new life in Maine this past June. Our story began almost 5 years ago, December 1, 2012. This is the date found out Oliver's father passed away. I was 12 weeks pregnant with our son and my world was turned upside down. With the help of my mom, and best friend, amongst many others I am blessed to call my friends, I was able to make it through that terrible time. I lived with my mom as she helped me through the remainder of my pregnancy and beginning of my son's life. Shortly after Oliver was born, I was distraught to learn that mom had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Oliver and I helped mom through her chemo, radiation, bilateral (double) mastectomy and reconstruction. After this process lasting about 2 years, mom was cancer free for about a year. Then she took a fall breaking her arm. We helped her through that, but as soon as her arm healed her back began hurting and eventually, despite therapy and medication, got to where she couldn't walk at all. I somehow managed to care for her, my toddler, 2 older dogs, and a full-time job. After months of failed treatments we learned mom's cancer had returned and was in her spine. Just after Thanksgiving last year mom went into the hospital for the last time. I was told her cancer had spread throughout her bones and to her brain and there was nothing more that could be done for her. She passed away on December 3. I was devastated to learn that my dear friend and ex-husband was killed a couple of weeks later. I had to make a decision about where we would go. Mom was underwater on her home and I couldn't afford to take over the mortgage. I knew I would have to find another place for Oliver, myself, and our 2 dogs, Buster and Lady. I began looking for a place to rent. I also began considering moving out of Georgia, where I'd lived my entire life, and making a fresh start, but I was hesitant to do so. I was heartbroken once more when I had to put Buster down. He also had cancer, which had spread throughout his body. After giving it a lot of thought and talking to several friends, I decided to look for places in Portland, Maine. I looked and looked for weeks, but couldn't find a place that would allow me to bring my Lady, a pit mix, as everywhere that allowed dogs had her breed on a restriction list. I had pretty much given up when I happened upon an apartment for for rent and there were no breed restrictions. As time went by, I got this feeling which grew stronger and stronger, that this was something I had to do. With the help of one of my best friends, I got the apartment! I was so excited and terrified at the same time, but I knew deep down it was the right thing to do for my little family and I. It would mean quitting my job and leaving everything (literally) and everyone behind. But, it would also give us a new beginning and a much safer place to live, not to mention much better schools for Oliver. So, I packed what I could in the SUV (movers were too costly) and our adventure began. We moved in on June 27. I knew that Oliver was in need of speech therapy, so I began looking for a preschool and came across a school not 5 minutes down the road that is designed for children with varying degrees of disabilities. I contacted the director and she referred me to an organization that helps children with disabilities and their families. They believe Oliver to be on the autism spectrum and are assisting me with having various evaluations for him. They will then create an IEP (individualized education plan) and refer him to the preschool. All of this is taking an enormous amount of time, but I am so happy he'll be receiving the help he needs. There is so much more help available here for children like Oliver and their families compared to Georgia. This brings me to where we are now with our situation and why we need your help. Oliver needs constant attention and I don't have anyone to watch him, so I had to postpone the job search I began before leaving Georgia. By the time I received approval for childcare assistance through the state, summer camp programs were already full and there were only a couple of weeks left before they ended anyway. I am hoping to have Oliver in school sometime in September. I need your help so that we can stay in our new home where we are all finally happy. I've used all my savings and maxed out my credit keeping us going. I've got nothing left. We need your help so that we aren't forced to move out into subsidized housing and have our family broken up yet again as we would not be able to take Lady and would have to find her a new home, most likely in a shelter. Anything at all you could give would be most helpful and most appreciated. Whether or not you are able to donate, I ask that you please share with your friends and family. If you know me, you know this is the hardest thing for me, as I do not like asking for help, but we are in desperate need. Thank you all for taking the time to read this. It means the world to me and my little family❤


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Christy Vazquez 
Scarborough, ME
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