There are few times in your life you remember meeting a true angel-- someone who has a deeply forgiving heart despite the abuse and trauma they have endured in their life, and a selfless, infinite love and generosity for those in need, even when one is in desperate need themselves. Nina is one of them. And she needs the generosity of others right now. Here is her story.
A hardworking mom of four (lovely!) boys, 30 year old Nina has come a long way from her past, when the odds were stacked against her. You would never know what she has been through when you witness her infectious laugh and warm smile. When you hear her story, it is hard to believe how much this amazing woman has suffered, and overcome.
As a child, Nina remembers lots of screaming and glass breaking in her home. By the time she was 5, her mother and stepfather were doing heroin on a daily basis, and life was chaotic. Her mother was sent to jail several times after terrifying drug raids on their home, and Nina was eventually sent to live with her grandmother, who was abusive. When her mom got out of jail finally, Nina was released back into her custody. She was 11.
Things for a while were great with her mom until her stepfather was let out from jail. Then her mom became extremely moody and violent towards Nina, and would hit her for things like shaving her legs, not watching her sister or brother appropriately enough, or not completely cleaning the house when she returned from work. Nina learned not to cry or raise her hand to protect herself, because if she did, the beatings got worse. At the same time, her stepfather was touching her inappropriately, and her mother wasn't protecting Nina from it, but rather treating her like a threat. Finally, enough was enough and Nina called a friend and ran away to her house. She knew she had an older half-brother in NYC, and called him from there to say she needed help. A few days later, he came to get her, and Nina moved in with him and his wife. They gave her stability and love, and Nina lived with them for several years.
At 17, Nina found herself pregnant after a brief relationship with a boy she had met. She was alone and so scared, but decided her life needed to change for the better. She buckled down in school and worked almost full-time to save money. With the help of her friend and her friend's mom, she gradutated on stage with her classmates, and her baby was there to watch. At 21, she had another child with another man who she tried to make things work with, but his mood swings and frequent disappearances made that impossible. Sometime later after moving back near her hometown, Nina rekindled a relationship with an old high school boyfriend. He swept her off her feet with promises of love, a home, and being a father to her sons. Thinking this was love, they were married soon. The relationship devolved over the course of 4 years, as her husband became increasingly mentally and physically abusive. After a violent episode that left her unconscious on her bedroom floor where her sons found her, she found the strength to run away with her boys and start a new life.
Despite all she has endured, Nina has always forged ahead, overcome the obstacles, and found the strength to live life with positivity, love, generosity, and a deeply open and forgiving heart. She has also always turned to education as an escape and pathway to a brighter future, and is a certified nurse's assistant, massage therapist, and esthetician. She is in a loving and stable relationship with her fiancee Elvin, who has never wavered in his kindness, gentleness, generosity, and love for her and her kids. They had two children together, but Elvin considers all four boys, "his sons." Her family is rich in love, but they are struggling every day to make ends meet.
Which brings us to the present. After the birth of her fourth child Roman a few months ago, Nina was faced with serious health issues and mouting medical bills. Two months after his birth, she had several terrifying and unexplained seizures, and her doctors haven't been able to determine why. Because of the seizures, her driver's license was revoked by the state of NJ, and she was let go from her job, which created enormous financial strain on her family. In order for her to go on job interviews now, Elvin has to take unpaid time off from work to drive her there/back. She also suffers from interstitial cystitis, which creates extreme and constant pain, and daily anxiety, but she can't afford the medicine to manage them, or the out-of-pocket costs to see specialists. Life is stressful with bills piling up, kids growing and needing things, and her barely working. Elvin supports them financially as much as he can while working two jobs, and he is her rock mentally and emotionally, but they are still way behind on everything and the future is grim financially. They receive $500 in foodstamps each month, which doesn't even last with four growing boys. There are months when they don't have all of their rent (they are currently behind a month), and they are currently behind on their electric and car payments. Nina often has to make a choice between buying food or paying a bill. Her worst fear is being homeless and not being able to feed her family properly.
I am looking to raise $10,000 because I want to do something for Nina that would be life-changing. I want to be able to cover her basic costs of living for a while so that her family doesn't have to worry about food or rent while she looks for another job or two, gets the medical attention she needs, and has some emergency funds as backup. Here is what the money would go towards. Her monthly payments are:
Car payment: $300
Gas for car: $50 to fill up car, so about $250/month
Extra food expenses: $400
Diapers and wipes: $150
Baby formula: $100/month
Out-of-pocket medical: $100-$300/month
Additional expenses (shoes and clothes for the family, school supplies, birthday gifts): Anything that's left
$10,000 would pay her rent for almost a year! Or give her the peace of mind to have a year's supply of diapers for her two youngest sons. Or she could buy $2000 worth of gas cards, and the rest could go towards food and rent.
It is amazing how far even small donations will go. Nina was $3.00 short on rent a few months back, and had to go to her piggy bank to make up the rest in small change. Had she had an extrs $3 DOLLARS, she could have paid her rent on time. EVERY little bit counts.
This is a woman who has always helped others, even when she had nothing herself. This is a family who is working the hardest they can, yet they are barely scraping by. This is an opportunity to help one family in a really big way. Nina is truly a person who is deserving of a little bit of kindness from others, and if many people contribute a little bit each, her life would be hugely impacted.
Elyse, Nina's friend and advocate
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