How to Change a Life

by Zoe Lawhorn
Women's Fund of Smith County

As if I hadn't already spent too much of my life watching it the first time, I find myself binge re-watching Grey’s Anatomy. One, it’s a good show. Two, it reminds me of a special window of time in my life when I was truly on my own for the first time. I spent many evenings watching Grey’s with my best friend, Dora. I bought the sound track; every time one of the big breakout songs comes up in the background of the show now, I flash back to moments “in real life” when my CD was playing in the car or in my apartment.

You may remember one big hit called “How to Save a Life” by The Fray. I must have listened to that song a thousand times; it’s even part of the soundtrack of my relationship with my husband, who I met somewhere around season three.

The song is terribly sad, the singer questioning where he went wrong asking again and again “how to save a life.” It’s the perfect soundtrack balance of intense ballad and building, repetitive crescendo that makes Grey’s Anatomy so fun to watch, to lose yourself in.

In real life, especially in the current days which remain unsettling, I find myself much less likely to listen to sad music, to dwell on melancholy.

I’d rather seek joy; I'd rather find sounds that fill the room with peace, inspiration, and courage, and I’d rather think about how to change a life.

This pursuit is one shared by my fellow members of the Women’s Fund of Smith County. The heart of our mission is to transform the lives of women and children. Recently, our friends at Bethesda Health Clinic shared a story of transformation with us that I’d like to share with you.

This year, through the support of our members and sponsors, we joyfully awarded a grant of $68,980 to Bethesda to support its Women's Health Clinic. Bethesda serves low-income, working, uninsured East Texans. Bethesda provides its patients a primary medical home, without which, they would be forced to seek care at the emergency room or choose between feeding their families and going to the doctor.

Consuela has been a patient at Bethesda since 2013. One of her fondest memories is from her very first visit when she found out she was pregnant with her second child.

Now, Consuela has 3 kids – ages 12, 8 and 5. She is a hard-working, single mom and works full-time in the cafeteria for Chapel Hill I.S.D. She loves serving lunch to the children and even pays for extra chips or cookies for those who she knows can’t afford these luxuries. Her heart is huge.

Consuela’s health journey has been difficult, because of serious women’s health problems. She has a high family history of ovarian cancer and her mom underwent an emergency hysterectomy at an early age. After Consuela’s last baby was born, she started to have more severe problems with pain and bleeding. She once lost so much blood she passed out while in her car. At that point she knew she had to get help.

For someone like Consuela, there are few choices when it comes to medical care. Without health insurance, she had no idea what she was going to do.

But then, she remembered Bethesda.

At Bethesda, Consuela received genetic testing which ruled out ovarian and uterine cancer. She was referred to Four Season’s Women’s Health and was told she needed a full hysterectomy.

Thanks to funds from other generous donors to Bethesda and The Women’s Fund, along with the dedicated and highly skilled medical staff (many of whom volunteer their time) Consuela will undergo surgery this month. When she found out she was getting the surgery, she started crying.

She said the tears were “happy tears” and she is ready to get back to a life without pain. A life, changed.

Transforming the lives of women and children isn’t necessarily easy or simple. It takes a network of dedicated individuals who pool their resources – talent, skill, time, and treasure – to make an impact that no one of us alone could pull off.

But together – together we have all we need to change not just one but countless lives, to meet needs we don’t even know exist; and the most joyous moment comes in finding that we, too, are changed.

I would love to share more with you about our giving circle. If you would like to know more about the Women’s Fund of Smith County, you can call us at (903) 509-1771 or visit www.womensfundsc.org.

Zoe Lawhorn serves as president of the Women’s Fund of Smith County, a collective giving circle of more than 300 women with a mission of transforming our community by funding programs that enrich the lives of women and children. Any woman with a giving heart is welcome to join our organization. Please visit www.womensfundsc.org for information about membership and outreach.

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