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Individual Success Story


“Fresh Start was a life raft to me when I was drowning. I felt like someone had my back even if I did not succeed. The women who supported me on my journey will always have a special place in my heart.”

Like the flip of a switch, Eve* felt like a stranger in her own body. A few years ago, she was a vibrant, active, successful woman. She had successfully balanced going to school full-time, worked 30 hours a week, and kept up with an exciting social life. Within a matter of years, that was all gone.  

“I was in a state of constant ache. My joints were swollen. I could barely walk to my bed or to the bathroom. It was excruciating every single step. I felt like I was 90 years old and falling apart,” Eve recalled.  

As the aches and pains grew into an everyday occurrence, even she had a hard time believing she was still only 26.  

She went to doctor after doctor hoping for answers, but always left feeling in the dark about what was going on within her body. As her investigation continued without resolve, her self-esteem went to an all-time low. Finally, she received an answer: she had an autoimmune disease that attacked joints and organs.  

“I was all alone. There was nobody with me after the diagnosis. I was of course very tearful, but I was also very angry with myself. I was angry that I didn’t have support, that I didn’t have anybody around,” Eve expressed.  

Eve turned her anger into action and felt a steely resolve to figure out how to live her life to the fullest despite her autoimmune disease.  

“My diagnosis actually created wide openings and exposed a whole lot of other things that needed to be healed. Not just physically, but emotionally. All the past traumas I hadn’t dealt with. And so, I went into counseling. I was determined to find the life success that I wanted,” Eve said.  

Around the same time that Eve started counseling, her sister found Fresh Start and convinced her to partake in the introductory courses. 

“I said to myself, ‘You know what, this might actually change my life,” Eve recalled.  “Fresh Start was a life raft to me when I was drowning.” 

Eve enrolled in career building programs within Fresh Start’s Personal Development Workshop and connected with a mentor through the Social Work team. She completed the Dream Builder online business plan course and received the E. Jean Goulet scholarship to attend Paradise Valley Community College. 

“I felt like someone had my back if I did not succeed. The women at Fresh Start who supported me on my journey will always have a special place in my heart. When I didn’t have a direction, they supported me. When I was trying to discover my new self, they supported me. When I couldn’t even afford clothes because my finances were ruined due to my medical expenses, they supported me. When I wanted to explore and find out what I wanted to do with my life, they supported me.” 

After finding the support she needed at Fresh Start, Eve felt her life accelerate back on course.  

“Since working with Fresh Start, I’ve been in remission for almost two years, and I found the love of my life. I have two wonderful stepsons that I now know how to empower and support,” Eve said excitedly.  

Eve shared that she doesn’t stress over finances anymore, and, in fact, she and her husband are looking to buy their first home as a family in the next two years. 

“I feel confident with a renewed sense of hope,” Eve said. “I feel successful again and it’s different than what I thought it was going to look like. You know, my life didn’t turn out the way I planned it when I was 21 and going to school, but I tell you what, it is better than I thought it was going to be. And I’m so incredibly grateful that I had that struggle, so I can enjoy the victory.”