Some of the challenges Kathy Hawkins faced in life made her want to give up. However, each time she felt like letting go, God sent someone to help her carry on.

Unable to feed herself, sit up or walk, Kathy moved to Hartford Health Care in 2013.

“I had no hope and felt like I was not going to make it,” Kathy said. “I truly expected to come here to die.”

Not long after she moved in, another Hartford resident befriended Kathy. She reminded Kathy that Jesus loves her no matter her situation and encouraged her to turn her life around.

“Thanks to her I have become a better Christian and a stronger woman,” Kathy said.

With some time, many therapy sessions and a lot of hard work by Kathy and Hartford’s staff things began to improve. Today, Kathy feeds herself, can sit up as long as she wants and can walk short distances with the assistance of a walker.

“It is still hard for me to look back and see the person I was when I got here,” Kathy said. “What a difference the past two years have made. I’m very proud of myself and the family I’ve found here.”

These days Kathy is involved in all aspects of life at Hartford. She’s a member of the town council, greets new residents as a member of the Welcome Wagon and helps plan numerous special events as well as arts & crafts and birthday and other parties.

“Kathy came to us a broken woman, but she’s had an awesome transformation” Hartford Health Care Administrator Les Hogan said. “She has found a secret, something in herself that has a new desire and zest for life that is infectious.”

A similar situation of losing hope happened when Kathy was in middle school. This time it was because classmates continuously teased her about her speech impediment.

“My sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Hudson, taught me that Jesus loves me even with my speech impediment,” Kathy recalls. “I was picked on terribly by the other kids in school until Mrs. Hudson came and made me feel important. I can’t thank her enough for making me feel important.”

Kathy, age 46, has two living sons, Brandon and Jonathan. Her son Jacob passed away at five weeks old.

Kathy will focus on the future on July 27 when she competes as a top 10 finalist at the Ms. Alabama Nursing Home Pageant in Birmingham. You can leave words of encouragement in the comments section below or share this article on social media to show your support.

For more information about the pageant, click here.

Editor’s note: This is the sixth story in a 10 part series about the top 10 finalists for the 2015 Ms. Alabama Nursing Home Pageant. On July 22, we’ll post a story about Ms. Troy Health & Rehab Dorothy Gainey.