Clothes, Chemo and Christianity: Tracy’s story

Tracy has pushed through some very dark times.

“I have only one child, Brandon, who was called home by the Lord 16 years ago when he was 25 years old. Before, I always thought if that ever happened to me, I wouldn’t recover. But God knew that I could and that I would,” said this StreetWise client. “Looking back, I believe God was preparing me for some of the other challenges He would walk me through.” 

The challenges didn’t stop there. Tracy received some traumatic medical news in more recent years, too.

“In 2017, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. About three months after going through surgery, chemo and radiation, I was on top of the world. I felt the healthiest I’d ever felt in my adult life,” she said. “But three months into that journey, I got diagnosed with colon cancer.”

And it wasn’t just health challenges Tracy faced.

“Meanwhile, I discovered my husband of almost 20 years had had a child with someone else. So I got through cancer and the divorce, and I sold the house,” she said. “My pocketbook has changed dramatically, but God always provides.”

Amidst all her struggles, a friend was gained.

“I started babysitting this little girl – she’ll be eight in July – when she was 12 months old. There’s no blood relation, but she calls me Tia. She’s helped keep me going and given me power when I didn’t have any. When I was going through chemo and she was just a tiny baby, she would take care of me,” she said. “She would tell me to lay down on the sofa and would wrap me up in a blanket and wipe my face and arms with a wipe.”

Despite everything that’s happened, Tracy had hope – and that hope was not in vain.

“I have recently been blessed to be in this tiny house. It’s a one-bedroom, one-bath, and it’s just enough for me and my two little dogs. God helped me hold it together until he revealed where I was supposed to be,” she said. “You just have to be appreciative and thank the Lord for what he puts in your life; he’ll walk you through the fire and bring you out on the other side. I certainly would not be here if it weren’t for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

One way God provided for Tracy in these tough times? Bringing her to StreetWise.

“A friend of a friend of mine who was also a breast cancer survivor [led me to StreetWise]. She was on disability as well, so we found ourselves sharing an apartment for a moment. When your budget is as low as ours, there’s no money left for groceries; so we were always looking for other resources,” she explained. “It’s been such a blessing because without StreetWise, my pantry would not be stocked.”

But it’s not just the amenities she’s grateful for. It’s also the prayers.

“Every time I’ve gone through there, there’s been something specific that I needed prayer for. This last time, I asked them to pray for me to be a blessing to others,” she said. “Well, not long after, I met a lady who connected me with the opportunity to provide elder care for a 98-year-old man; that will help supplement my disability.”

Through StreetWise, Tracy received much-needed food and supplies, but she’s also found new ways to give back.

“StreetWise has everything you need for all the nutrition and health benefits of proper food. And it’s very uplifting to see because I’ve been on both sides – I’ve been the one in need and the one to give,” she said. “Right now I’m getting unpacked and putting stuff away, and I know I’ll have clothes to donate to StreetWise’s clothing pantry.”

Tracy encourages others to explore ways to share hope, too.

“It’s so wrong to take perfectly sustainable food and throw it away when there are so many people in need,” she said. “So, I would plead for you to continue to give [to StreetWise]

“It’s not just food; some people can’t buy gas to get to their doctor’s appointments or don’t have money for their medicine. There are so many avenues where you can help.”