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May 1, 2014

Modern Day Superwoman - Your Support Gives Denise Strength, Energy and Hope

Denise’s reality is one that can only compare to a modern day superhero. Her story is rare, and leaves most of us questioning, “How does she do it?”

"It was helpful at least to know
that my kids had something."
In 2010, after purchasing a home, Denise became sick. To make matters worse, she lost her job that August. By October of 2010, Denise was diagnosed with a blood disease that required her to undergo harsh chemotherapy treatments.

Eventually, her pricey doctor appointments soon replaced her budget for groceries, forcing Denise to rely on a limited amount of food stamps. With four children, graduate school courses, frequent hospital visits and a lack of income, food was a major hurdle in Denise’s life. In time, the southern-style meals that Denise loved to cook for her kids slowly stopped making their way to the dinner table. Her daughter, a teenager at the time, became her nurse and prepared meals to ensure her mother received adequate nutrition.

“At the time, I couldn’t be out around other people,” says Denise. “I had to send my kids to the grocery store and they weren’t used to getting food on their own.”

With the help of a social worker at Georgetown Medical Center, Denise was connected to Food & Friends after she began chemotherapy.

“Between 2010 and 2011, I was in the hospital for at least 10 months. But Food & Friends really helped me because I wasn’t home. It was helpful at least to know that my kids had something.”

For the past four years, Food & Friends has come to Denise’s aid during times when she needed it most. She recalls the volunteers who she says are always in good spirits – they kept her smiling and hopeful throughout her struggle.

Now that she is recovering slowly, Denise is getting back into the kitchen where she says “southern food with a kick” is her specialty. With groceries no longer being an obstacle, Denise enjoys preparing food for her kids, even if it simply involves heating up a Food & Friends dinner. 

Four years after her diagnosis, Denise is becoming reacquainted with her neighborhood. The mother of four is now searching for a new job, still attending Catholic University, and even takes cooking classes at Food & Friends’ facility. With the help of our frequent meal deliveries, Denise continues to inspire us with her phenomenal story.

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