I am a people person, a helper. Now I am asking for your help.
If you come into my salon having a bad day, I focus on helping you have a better day. My momma used to say: compassion and empathy…it’s going to come out and it always has for me.
After I graduated from high school, I studied sociology, nursing and then cosmetology. I am a hair stylist but have done many things with this. I have owned a few beauty salons. Now, I work for a corporate cosmetology group and still continue to work at age 68. I draw strength by being in the salon and being with people. When you are a hair stylist, you become a psychologist. I also have helped as a volunteer on the senior board at my residence. I helped the group send reports to DC to try to be proactive in getting things for the environment where I live, helping fight for things we need at the LRC.
I eventually had to stop volunteering and start fighting for myself. I was initially diagnosed with heart failure five years ago. Facing my mortality was horrific. Society has not done a good job of programming us to deal with dying. I got obsessed with funerals even though I did not want to die. During this time, people would withdraw from me when I told them I was terminal. They would have fear. I had fear. Going through this type of mortality awareness is a real journey of ups and downs. You have to figure out that life is worth living, decide to fight to stay active so you can win the battle. To give me unconditional love at this tough time, I got a little dog. Her name is Chloe. She helped bring me love even if I was terminal.
For me, I had to surrender to the idea of the heart transplant. Initially, I was told that because of my age at 68 I was not a candidate, but I still wanted a chance at life. I wasn’t going to stop here, so I went and got a second opinion. I wanted the chance at a heart transplant, despite my age. It was here that the second opinion gave me hope. They were willing to discuss the hope of a heart transplant. I was not ready to die even knowing at some time we are all going to die, but I was not ready to be thrown away. I still wanted to fight for a quality life.
During those five years, just walking was sometimes hard. Yet, I kept working. Sometimes I would have to go in the back of the salon to suck on some oxygen to get through the day. I was determined to keep going. In fact, I kept working right up to the time I was called to come get my transplant. When the doctor called to give me to good news: I was getting a heart transplant. I remember barely being able to breathe.
Then I knew it…Just like Lazarus’s story in the Bible, God had kept bringing this story to me: you’re not dead yet, I haven’t called you. I was raised with these beliefs, but life’s difficulties help you understand the power of the spirituality and how awesome this can be to get you through. Church has been a mainstay through these past five years.
My family has also been my support. My nephew has been a rock and was with me right after I got the call there was a heart for me. He helped keep all the family in the loop.
I have two very supportive sons. My youngest son and his new wife, who were just married in Vegas this past summer live in Paderborn, Germany. He is a music entertainer. My oldest son lives closer in Colorado Springs. He actually spent 23 years in prison, but he just got out 6 months ago. He originally received a sentence for 49 years but is out early. He is like a new person. He is getting ordained in November and planning to get married just before he gets ordained. I am very proud of both of them.
I have three supportive siblings. My youngest sister lives in Dallas Texas; my older sister lives in Denver, and an older brother who lives in Colorado Springs. Our oldest brother has been deceased since 1989. We grew up as military brats, my dad was in the army, special forces. We lived in Germany, France, North Carolina, Florida, and Georgia. We were living in North Carolina when I was born. After daddy got out of the service, we lived in New Orleans, where mom grew up. This is where I went to high school.
When I was eighteen right after I graduated from high school, my momma moved us to Colorado Springs in 1969. She had always wanted to live here. At that time, New Orleans was getting pretty rough. So, to make it better for us kids, we moved from a big city to the little city of Colorado Springs.
I am excited for a second chance and to make the most if it. No words can express that I have the life inside of me and someone’s family made a major sacrifice for me to have this life. There are no words…. grateful. I want to publish a book to let others know there is hope, it’s not over. I want to share. I may not be able to save the world, but I do want to share my story to keep the positive. Don’t give up. You have to make up your mind you want to go forward. You have to keep it moving. Keep your mind positive. Be active physically. Feed your mind the positive. These things work together.
This journey has taught me to stop procrastinating. I am no longer going to miss the boat. For real, my girlfriend after watching “Waiting to Exhale” have always wanted to take a cruise. No more putting it off. In fact, practically speaking I am planning a cruise once I am well enough. We are going to get on that boat in Tampa. I even took a chance and traveled to Las Vegas this past summer to see my youngest son get married. We had a great time. I am glad I did not let my illness from keeping me from going. You have to seize the moment.
I remember learning about Dr. Norman Vincent when I was studying sociology years ago and his Power of Positive Thinking book. This book remains just as important today as it was back then. However, today this thinking continues for me. I am hungry to keep the positive outlook in my life. I want to embrace all the positive I can. I am so glad that I had this influence in my life back then. Even then, I was being prepared for life’s amazing journey. With the help of an amazing healthcare team, the journey of hope. I am a living example, a living testimony. I’ve listened to my new heart. I listen to her beat. I’ve looked at my scar. She doesn’t look that bad.
Family and friends of Belinda Littles are raising money for the nonprofit Help Hope Live to fund uninsured medical expenses associated with transplantation.
Belinda has chosen to fundraise for Help Hope Live in part because Help Hope Live assures fiscal accountability of funds raised and tax deductibility for contributors. Contributors can be sure donations will be used to pay or reimburse medical and related expenses. To make a tax-deductible donation to this fundraising campaign, click on the Give button.
For more information, please contact Help Hope Live at 800.642.8399.
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