Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Pat On The Back!

I don't usually talk about things that are happening to me or about me, but I wanted to share this with my readers. Our local newspaper puts out a small magazine four times a year called Magnolia that focuses on women in our community. This past summer they had a contest where anyone could write in about a woman they considered to be a steel Magnolia.My daughter's caregiver, Patsy Beck, wrote a beautiful summary highlighting me. There were 10 ladies chosen and I was one of them. We were treated to a ladies night out at the play Steel Magnolias, put on our local theater. It was a ladies night only and there was a packed house nearly 500 ladies. It was so much fun! Then we were all highlighted in the magazine that was published on December 7. Want to thank Patsy for what she wrote and I appreciate everything she does to help keep Niki at home. I have copied the article posted it below and if you want to read more in the magazine here is the link: http://www.rn-t.com/pages/community_magnolia

(If you click on this link and then click on Debbie Malone you can read the article as well as see the picture they shot of me.)

Debbie is a tireless caregiver and advocate. But she does need some time for herself, and photography has become an outlet for her. She started out taking photos to accompany her freelance articles for Georgia Backroads magazine. She loves to shoot outdoor photography, especially out in nature — whether it’s wildflowers in bloom or flitting butterflies or the scenic beauty around Berry College’s Old Mill.

Debbie Malone has spent her life as a caregiver, first to her mother as a child. Her mother had crippling arthritis and was not able to do housework — the cooking, the laundry, etc. — therefore Debbie was responsible for all this early in life.

She didn’t complain; she just assumed the responsibilities, missing out on so much of her childhood.

It seems this fate would follow her through her life.

As a young woman, Debbie married and started a family. With two beautiful daughters she could now have that life and dreams she had missed out on as a child. Life could be normal.

But fate would not have it. Debbie’s youngest daughter Niki was diagnosed with a brain tumor at 3, and again she found herself putting dreams aside.

For 32 years, Debbie has cared for Niki at home, refusing to put her in a home for the disabled.

Instead, she’s dedicated her life to finding out what’s available for the disabled, getting waivers to go through, etc.

She has searched the laws and fought for the rights of those with special needs. She is an advocate for the disabled and their rights and puts herself out there to be sure all parents are informed of these rights.

If she runs into a snag in the system, she just starts fighting to have it changed.

Debbie Malone is an inspiration to women from all walks of life. She’s a strong, determined lady who has taught me to never give in to circumstance. She is a fighter and is always standing ready to fight for others’ rights as well.

She is just starting to get some help with Niki after 32 years, some much-deserved help.

If anybody deserves to be called a Steel Magnolia, it’s Debbie Malone!

Submitted by Patsy Beck