Her name is Tina and she has lived in the Smyrna, Tennessee area nearly her entire life. She graduated from Smyrna High School in 1994. From there, she worked at restaurants most of her adult life.
Things greatly changed for her in 2013 when she was deemed to be legally blind. Today Tina can make out colors, but beyond the color things are a blur. Tina has diabetes and with that, the problems with her eyes have only increased.
Tina has Diabetic Retinopathy that affects blood vessels in the light-sensitive tissue called the retina that lines the back of the eye. The complication cannot be cured, but can be treated in some cases. But for Tina, treatment is out of the question with her current heart related problems.
In 2015 she had her first heart attack followed by a second only four months later. In October of 2016, she underwent a quadruple bypass surgery. Quadruple refers to the number of heart arteries that are bypassed.
Tina has 15 and 17 year old sons. They often spend the night with friends leaving mom alone in a motel room. That of course is not entirely bad as there is little money to feed and clothe the boys – plus extra cash to pay up to $1400 per month on a motel stay.
A disability check arrives in Tina’s bank account once monthly, but that check rings in at only $500. So, she can only stay at motels for up to two weeks. Other nights, she depends on shelters and help from friends for a place to rest her head.
"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart." - Helen Keller, (1880-1968)