My sister is the strongest person I know.
She became pregnant with her first child when she was 17 and gave birth to my incredible niece just out of high school at 18. Shortly after that, she began her decades-long struggle with addiction. In the period since, Maegan has endured severely abusive relationships with men, homelessness, alienation from family and friends, physical and emotional trauma, and loss of custody of her children.
Three years ago, my sister found herself pregnant with my youngest niece. She had just fled an abusive relationship and was stuck homeless and struggling with addiction in an unfamiliar place. She took a Greyhound bus back to our hometown of Paducah, Kentucky and made the decision to take control of her life for the sake of her children. She moved into a home for domestic abuse survivors and clawed her way out of active addiction. She lived in the shelter until her daughter was born, at which point she began working at a grocery store and moved into a home of her own. She walked back and forth to work for almost two full years until she could afford a modest car.
In the meantime, my sister pursued custody of her oldest daughter and was awarded it, but only after fighting like hell.
Maegan somehow found the strength and will to work her way into a good life with her children despite all odds. I am infinitely proud of her.
While she has a home and transportation and a modest means to provide for her family, there is one thing addiction took from her that she is still struggling to get back: her teeth.
Her dental insurance will cover the removal of her remaining teeth but will not cover the cost of replacing them, classifying the procedure as "cosmetic." It is anything but. She is in severe physical pain all the time, she cannot enjoy the food she loves, and the stigma associated with her dental health is crippling. It is holding her back from employment opportunities and crushing the potential for her to have an enjoyable social life. The impact on her quality of life cannot be overstated. She needs, and deserves, new teeth.
I am hosting this fundraiser because she is too proud to do it herself. I am asking for $10,000 to cover the cost of getting her new teeth and hopefully allow her to comfortably take any time off she needs after the procedure. Thanks so much for reading, sharing, and contributing