C for Courage

Who: Irene
Age: 38
City: New York, NY
Profession: Potential Mother

It was just plain bad luck. “We think it had to do with a blood transfusion she had done 15 years ago back in Russia.” Levya is gorgeous to look at, slim, late 50s, and mother to Irene. She has a thick accent even though she’s been in this country for over 15 years. She’s got the body, energy and vibrancy of someone half her age – and it’s natural. Her style is that of Grace Kelly. “How did you detect it?” I ask. Levya still looks as concerned as the day she found out, “Irene was in the process of applying for artificial insemination when a doctor detected Hepatitis C in her blood.” A list of “what ifs” rolls through my head. She knew she was tired all the time but no one considered it to be a deadly medical condition. Irene was this close to dying, if it weren’t for that doctor, period.

Irene comes across as a little slow. Don’t get me wrong she’s fun to be around and very bubbly and warm when I see her. She has jet straight, shoulder-length hair that’s been died a red/orange, dare-to-be-different color, and it looks to have been done from the bathroom sink at home. She came to see the doctor over a month ago, and visits him twice a week. Off the record, the doctors told Irene and Levya that he would rid her of Hepatitis C completely. I never thought I’d hear someone be so definite about something so specific, especially in the medical field. But, he is a doctor that means what he says. It brings inspiration to Levya. She wells up when she shares this with me. “I can’t tell you what it would do to me if Irene left this life before me. I mean that’s just not the natural order of things.” I offer her a tissue and let the moment pass.

It gets expensive too. Levya is left with Irene’s medical bills, and to visit this doctor twice a week…it doesn’t comes lightly. “I don’t care, if I’m keeping my daughter alive longer, that’s what matters.” Levya works for a big 5th Avenue fashion company in their cashmere department. In the past 10 years, she has increased their cashmere sells by 100%. She’s good at what she does. From what I gather Irene works with the elderly, nursing and reading to them and catering to their wants/needs. It doesn’t pay much but she’s able to take care of herself when her energy drops. And that is a moment-by-moment concern for both of them.

Hope. Strength. Perseverance The kind Super Woman inspires.

Author: pizzaslices

Liza is an actor and co-creator of Subway Token Films, a film production company that captures Street Level Miracles through films. That is, moments in our lives when the story as we know it stops, the lens is pulled back and something more expansive is revealed to us. Liza has won awards and audiences alike for her portrayals of the immigrant story on stage and film. She lives in New York City and Los Angeles with her partner, actor Felix Solis.