With her permission, BOSS is sharing the following story from a mom living temporarily at BOSS’s Ursula Sherman Village program in West Berkeley. She needs help from the community! She has a special needs son for whom she had a wheelchair accessible vehicle but the vehicle no longer functions and she urgently needs a new one. She just graduated from SF State and is working hard to find housing. Her story, in her words, is below.
If you can help, please donate here – Click ‘Yes’ on ‘Do you want your donation to have a special purpose?’ and write ‘Lawreece’ under ‘I want my donation to be dedicated to’. If you have a vehicle you can donate, please contact Gwen at 510.649.1930 (x 1008 Sonja, x 1001 Gwen).
“My story started like so many people in my generation and like so many people that stem from impoverished communities. At nine months old, I was adopted and my story pretty much started there. After being old enough to understand, I learned that at 8 months, my mother and father had gotten into a domestic altercation and as a result, my mother was left fully paralyzed on her right side. In her depression, she turned to drugs, as did my father, and to this day I know very little about both of them. I can remember meeting him for the first time at eight years old, and then in 2008, I was informed that he was shot in the streets of West Oakland, a very impoverished community in itself. I will never know him now or ever get a chance to hear why he couldn’t do more.
My mother, after having to learn how to walk and talk again after her “accident” came in and out of my life so much that I can truly say the relationship has never been what a daughter would want from a mother. I didn’t get calls on birthdays, Christmas’ or anything of the sort. I wouldn’t want this pain for anyone. My great aunt, my angel sent from heaven, took custody of me at 9 months and tried her best to give me everything that i was missing and that i would miss in the years to come. She kept me in church and talked to me early on that God would never leave me or forsake me and that when you truly commit yourself to God, there is nothing that He won’t back you up in. I truly believe this with my whole heart.
I like to believe that I come from very humble beginnings – however, because of my drive, self-motivation, and the presence of my son Karter Edwards, I am now a college graduate, founder of a disability awareness nonprofit, and an overcomer! I have used every situation as fuel to keep going. I learned early on that life is not easy or fair, but it is your mindset and your approach that will determine your attitude and each day that I wake up, I check my approach so that I can end the day knowing that I gave the day my all.
My son Karter is a bright four-year old boy that brings me and so many others so much joy each and every day. He was diagnosed with HIE, CVI, and quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy at birth and is a fighter to say the least! He has a wheelchair that does not limit him – he absolutely loves life! God allowed him to live after having to be resuscitated! He is a “rolling” miracle – Karter is a lesson for us all, that life is not promised and if you are able to wake up each day, enjoy it to the fullest and be humble, because what we take for granted, someone else may be wishing they had an opportunity at it.
His contagious joy is undeniable. He is a constant reminder to me, which is why with every fiber of my being, I will continue to do everything it is that I can to make sure that his life is full of happiness.
In 2016 I began taking care of my brother’s grandmother (no blood relation to me) who had dementia and a host of other illnesses. I committed myself to her care because my brother had no one else and moved Karter and myself into her home to be around totally for her needs. I have always put everyone else before myself all of my life because this is what my great aunt instilled in me. I cooked, cleaned and managed my brother’s grandmother’s home in exchange for our living space until she passed recently in June of 2018.
Unfortunately after she passed, the bank repossessed her home which ultimately left us homeless. Our comfort and living arrangements changed overnight. I had been driving her van and thankfully the bank allowed me to keep it until they were “ready” to give it to her family members to whom she had signed it over to. I literally began sleeping in her van as it was all I had to my name, and even then it was not mine. It was up until January 2019 that we moved out of her van and into Harrison House (BOSS shelter) and that is where we’ve been ever since.
I used the van to get around, especially Karter, his wheelchair and his equipment needed daily at school, at occasional appointments, etc. The van made life simpler even in our hardship. The family were wanting to take the van recently as they were entitled to it, so what I had used to transport Karter and his wheelchair ended, too. On top of that, the van broke down sooner than they had wanted it back, leaving me with no options whatsoever. Because we have a wheelchair to transport, I am challenged with getting Karter to and from school, doctor appointments, therapies, etc. Harrison House has been our biggest blessing as they care a great deal and help us in more ways than one.
My objective here is not to become a charity case but to show others how any and everything is possible even in a situation like ours. I am persevering and waking up each day thankful for another chance to make our situation better. I am going on housing showings, checking in with resources, and doing my due diligence to ensure us a better future. The houses we have seen are either outside of our budget and/or not ADA accessible. However, we are not giving up. We are taking public transit and enjoying the fresh air and sunshine we do get to see. I choose to look at the bright side. Karter deserves that much. Thank you for listening.