Forty-one-year-old Epifany Larue-Brunson has had a rough go of things lately, and not just because of COVID-19. Epifany was recently diagnosed with Stage Four Metastatic Breast Cancer. Her condition is incurable, and treatment is often harsh and unforgiving, but Epifany is a fighter. She and her husband, Michael-46, son Jakobie-14 and daughter Paizlee-7, originally moved to Price Hill for Epifany’s job and a better life. The Brunson family first sought Santa Maria’s assistance with rent and utilities. “These services have meant the world to me” Epifany said, “because we could have been evicted and homeless if this agency was not in place.”
When the Brunsons first got involved with Santa Maria, they began working with a case worker, Amelia Wehr, Program Manager with Stable Families, Shelter Diversion. “Amelia has been such a huge blessing for my family,” Epifany said. Amelia was just as impressed with Epifany, “even with the amount of pain that she is in and the many barriers she has to face due to her disease, the pandemic, and raising a family… she still wants to give back,” she said.
Amelia immediately set up Epifany and Michael with financial coaching to help them get their finances back on track. Epifany worried that if the family was evicted they would have to temporarily split up and live in different households in order to make ends meet, but with Amelia’s help, Epifany and Michael were able to set up and follow a family budget, and it helped them stay in the same house. “Working with Santa Maria has made a difference in my life because we have been able to remain together in our home and not be separated due to eviction,” Epifany stated.
When COVID-19 became an issue, Michael found it difficult to maintain employment as a contractor because people were not comfortable having someone work in their home. Unfortunately, due to her diagnosis, Epifany is no longer able to work. Otherwise, the family is holding up well, Epifany said, but home schooling has been a challenge, as well as budgeting due to employment loss. Her illness has also caused great difficulty walking and getting around. Looking toward the future, Epifany is hopeful that Michael will be able to maintain consistent employment so that they are able to meet their financial obligations without assistance.
Santa Maria has helped bring some stability back to the Brunsons during these uncertain times. “It has been a reassurance knowing that this agency has been so supportive,” Epifany said, “I would tell someone who is experiencing financial hardship to give Santa Maria a try. They are able to turn the worst situation into a positive for families going through tough times.”
Epifany can rest a little easier knowing that Santa Maria has helped her family stay in their home and kept vital services in place. Your donation helps families like the Brunsons get back on their feet again and have one less worry in a life faced with uncertainty. We invite you to donate today!