In Edmond, In Need

Edmond resident Amelia Taylor did everything right. When she was diagnosed with clinical depression, everything went wrong. With her crippling illness, regular work isn’t in the cards for her. A full-time mother, she works whenever and wherever she can to make ends meet, but her depression still holds her back. She’s not on welfare and she receives no child support for her 4-year-old daughter, Nadia. But she’s committed to making it work, saying, “Somehow, some way, the bills are going to get paid.”

Edmond resident Randon Payne’s story is equally heartbreaking. He owned his own heating and air-conditioning business. He saved for, and eventually bought, a house. He was living the American Dream. When he was diagnosed with kidney failure in 2006, his life unraveled.

“I moved into the house two years ago and that’s when I came down with my illness,” says Payne, “I was sick for about two weeks. I went to the hospital and they straight up told me, ‘No, you’re really sick. Your kidneys are shot’.”

The common thread in Payne and Taylor’s lives is Edmond’s own Hope Center, an organization devoted to helping those in need—those that others have left behind.

Says the Hope Center’s Director, Chris Sperry, “The Hope Center served approximately 60,000 people in 2007, of which 75% were women and children.”

Says Taylor, “If you know anything about depression, then you know it can be crippling. It’s worse than physical pain. A lot of people didn’t understand this, but Chris Sperry, the Director of the Hope Center, did. She understood completely. I felt like I finally had someone to turn to.”

Payne’s been close to death twice. While his medic