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Some longtime VIP supporters have heard the story of “Mary” who, several years ago at age 11, came to the emergency room after a neighbor remarked to her mother that she thought Mary was pregnant. She was…. by her stepfather. So at age 11 and 34 weeks gestation, she sat in the corner of our clinic trailer quietly looking out at the rain failing on the asphalt. Over the next six weeks we coordinated an array of support services for her and for her family all funded by VIP's H.E.A.R.T. members.
Since her stepfather had been arrested and was awaiting trial, H.E.A.R.T. paid her rent, sent her mother to English classes and job training, provided in-house after school care so that she and her siblings would not all become targets. H.E.A.R.T. helped her with in home schooling and tutoring and bought her maternity clothes. Gift certificates helped keep all five children in clothes and put food on the table.
That New Year’s Eve, Dr. Heger spent in Women’s and Children’s Hospital standing by Mary's bed feeding her ice chips with the young girl's “Hello Kitty” bag on the floor. It was a terrible night. Dr. Heger watched one year die and the other one born just a few hours after a baby girl was born to another small girl too young to understand the pain, the blood and the tears. She sat quietly in the corner of the room when all was done and silently wept. Then she took three months off.
VIP worked hard to find a good home for that baby, and the adoptive father comes each year to bring Dr. Heger her school picture. She looks just like her mother who, two years after giving birth and with much love and support from H.E.A.R.T., graduated from VIP.
Recently, Dr. Heger was walking up to the VIP medical clinic when a yellow L.A. City Park’s truck screeched to a halt next to her. A woman jumped out of the driver’s side and threw her arms around her, tears streaming down her face. “Do you remember me?” she asked. Dr. Heger recognized but did not remember. “I am Mary’s mom. We talk of your kindness all the time. We will never forget you.” And, what of Mary? She is in nursing school along with her sister. The miracle of kindness - first Mary, then her sister and her mom, perfect English, great job, supporting her children in college - was well spent.
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