Beverly Wright: Out of the Mountain of Despair; A Stone of Hope
in Williamson, West Virginia, in the shadow of two mountains, Beverly Wright has held many titles - daughter, mother, widow, clerical expert, cancer survivor. She was referred to Dress for Success Columbus in 2007 and later became a member of the Columbus chapter of Professional Women’s Group. Beverly is known for her shyness, yet is still a strong advocate for Dress for Success Columbus.
Life Before Dress for Success Columbus
Beverly’s struggles with her personal health began during her time as a caretaker for her late husband, who died from black lung disease. In 2007, at the age of 55, she faced her toughest battle when she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. The diagnosis was devastating to Beverly due to a family history of cancer. When the doctor talked with her regarding treatment plans, all Beverly could think of was her mother - she died of the same disease when she was 55.
Beverly explains at one time she wasn’t proud of her lifestyle and thought of herself as ugly and overweight. Her cancer diagnosis was particularly devastating. She struggled with being alienated with from friends and family members after her husband’s death. Alone, depending on her own income, she had to muster up enough strength to support herself through her treatments. “It was although as if they thought they would catch this disease, but it’s not contagious,” she said. The battle left her homeless and unemployed.
Through this struggle, Beverly was only able to obtain $10 in assistance through Jobs and Family Services. She resorted to drinking water to fill her up. One day she tucked away her pride and asked a friend if he would treat her to a chicken dinner. She saved the bones from that meal in her freezer and would suck on them to help quell her hunger.
“I have a big sister - Dress for Success”
When Beverly was referred to Dress for Success Columbus, she discovered volunteers that worked diligently to help her choose an outfit for interviewing. They were unaware of her illness, and even though there were limited plus-sized selections, Beverly came out of the experience feeling and looking beautiful. She discovered techniques that allowed her to mix and match her clothing to help expand her wardrobe. Dress for Success Columbus lifted her self-esteem. She felt good about herself - both internally inside and externallyout. She became employed shortly after. At her new job, she received many compliments about how she dressed. She replied “I have a big sister called Dress for Success.”
During one of the Professional Women’s Group meetings Beverly attended, something inside of her clicked. She realized that she was embarking on a new lifestyle after reaching a low in her physical health.
“Lifestyle changes for me weren’t easy, and occasionally I have moments of weakness. Slowly but surely, I am learning how to make my new lifestyle change a permanent one.
I learned to be more positive and to give more to others in need. I learned that when you give, you receive. The most difficult part of my journey has been not being able to work full-time. Sometimes I feel as though it’s taken away my desire to live, to a degree. I had just turned 55 and was considered disabled. I no longer have cancer, but I do have other health issues. But you know what? It means a lot to me every day just to wake up.”
She considers those she has met through Dress for Success Columbus and Professional Women’s Group to be her big sisters and mentors and is proud to be an advocate. Beverly says she now has her life back.
EnVisioning the Future
Beverly’s future goals are to start a home-based business in billing and coding, and would like to establish a resource center to assist the elderly to get their medication.
Beverly admits that she is still shy - but is using the skills she’s learned through Dress for Success Columbus programs to help break the ice so she can advocate for the program. She introduces herself to other disadvantaged women in hopes of sharing her story and how she was empowered.
She shares that each Dress for Success client receives more than just clothes; she receives tools to envision her success and accomplish her goals. Beverly can truly say we all fall but we get back up. The sponsors, donors and volunteers at Dress for Success Columbus have provided the motivation for her to realize that she can make it.
“God put this organization and these sisters in my life and now I feel loved. Although my struggle is not your struggle, we are equal as women. A baby needs hugs to be successful - at Dress for Success Columbus you will be successful because you are hugged.”