An essential worker at Grocery Store, Monica was on the frontlines of this pandemic since the beginning. She couldn’t work remotely, couldn’t create a hybrid work schedule. She showed up at work day in and day out, ready to ensure her community had access to the food, medicine, and household products they needed during the early months of the pandemic. And unfortunately, she caught COVID in summer of 2020 and needed to be intubated.
Monica didn’t get a mild case of COVID. After three long weeks on a ventilator, she needed to relearn to walk, to use her arms, to breathe without overexerting herself. It took a lot of work in rehabilitation and she got stronger. Still, she will need to be on an oxygen tank for the rest of her life.
“I’m a fighter,” she says. “My whole family is. We fight for everything we have. We fight to live.”
And Monica is no stranger to health struggles. In 2016, she beat plasmacytoma cancer, and shortly after her son Ozzie was born, complications from an illness left him diagnosed with cerebral palsy and hydrocephalus. Now 15-years-old, Ozzie primarily uses a wheelchair for mobility, and it’s been a struggle manuevering in a home that wasn’t built with accessibility in mind.
“His wheelchair simply doesn’t fit,” Monica explains. “We’re hitting walls. It’s a very tight squeeze. We can’t turn the chair around in the hallway, and the wheelchair doesn’t fit in the bathroom door.”
That’s why Monica was so excited to apply to the Habitat Tucson homeownership program!
Becoming a Habitat homebuyer will—without a doubt—bring incredible positive change to the lives of Monica and her children Ozzie and Mariana. Their Habitat will be spacious. Liberating. “Having our own space, our own belongings, a good roof over our head,” Monica says. “It’s different having something to call our own.”
And the best part of having a home is the ability to leave something to her children.
“I’m in remission right now,” Monica says, explaining that there’s a chance the plasmacytoma could mataticise again. More than anything, Monica wanted to make sure that if something happened to her, her children would still have a safe home.
“My first question when they did a home visit was: if something were to happen to me, will it be able to go to my children?” says Monica. “They told me, ‘Yes.’”
Having a safe, stable, accessible home means Monica’s life will never be the same—in the best way possible.
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