By Martha Cooper-Hudson
Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference. Life was never meant to be easy; it can sometimes be a constant struggle, with extreme lows and extreme highs. Anything that comes easy will never last and anything that lasts will never come easy — that is why you should never give up, never quit.
Those are the words that Tonya Green, a phenomenal Woman of Greatness, says to herself everyday, as every day for her is a fight for her survival. I had the honor and privilege to meet this kind and courageous woman a month ago and her story is truly one of courage, perseverance and survival.
At the tender age of 38, Tonya Green was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. After a doctor’s visit and the reading of her echocardiogram, Tonya realized that she had inherited the same condition that killed her grandfather at the age of 45 and that her mother lives with today. Congested heart failure is just one of the many curveballs life has thrown her way in the past three years. Tonya’s story is truly about a woman who will never surrender nor retreat. Most people would have given up or quit on life when faced with the same obstacles she has had to overcome, but for Tonya giving up and quitting is not an option.
In October of 2010, Tonya suffered a stroke, one that left her unable to operate at 100 percent. But Tonya said she had her rock, her angel, the love of her life Charlie Green by her side to help her get through this difficult time. That was until the day God called her husband home on February 26, 2011, four short months after she had her stroke. Tonya wondered how this could be happening to her, why would God take Charlie from her and their children? How can I move forward without my rock, my strength, my beloved husband, she thought. She even questioned herself: “Did I put my husband before God or did Charlie put me before God?”
As if that wasn’t enough to break a person down, Tonya’s heart began to deteriorate at a rapid pace and on December 7, 2011, Tonya had a heart transplant at Duke Medical center, 10 months after losing her husband in a car accident. Fast forward two years, her body has begun to reject the heart she received in 2011, and the doctor states that she is too weak at this moment to undergo another transplant. But she continues to stand on these words: Never give up, never quit fighting.
After all of the curve balls that have been thrown her way, when asked what keeps her fighting every day, in her soft and calm voice she simply said, “My love for my children.” The need and the desire to raise her 14-year-old son who is a freshman at Beaufort Academy. The determination to see her first grand child who is due in this world in a couple of months. But most of all, her belief in knowing that by his stripes she will be healed.
Tonya’s greatest hope and prayer is that she is able to see her son become an adult, and that if her determination and desire to live can inspire one person to keep moving forward and never give up then her journey will not have been in vain.
Just remember that no matter what mountain is standing in your way, no matter what curve ball is thrown in your direction, if you keep the faith, never give up, keep trying and gain a closer relationship with God, you can and will make it.
Adversities reveal who you are and also reveal who you can become. In my eyes, Tonya Green is truly a woman of greatness and we salute her for sharing her journey and her willingness to inspire others.
While lying in bed at Beaufort Memorial Hospital, Tonya states that she can’t wait to be able to sing as loud as she can her favorite song: “If it had not been for the Lord on my side, tell me where would I be.”
Ladies, everyone has a story. Let me hear from you. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org — you never know how your story can and will impact others.
Join me and the classy and sassy women of Beaufort and surrounding areas for Beaufort’s First Classy & Sassy Women Night Out with a Purpose on Tuesday, October 15, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. at the Holiday Inn & Suites. To purchase tickets, go to http://tastytuesday-efbevent.eventbrite.com.