Paige was just 15 when she found herself all alone – no one to turn to, nowhere to go.

“My mother was diagnosed with leukaemia when I was 13, and she passed away when I was 15. I had no family support. I couldn’t go to my father’s because my stepmother was abusive. I used to leave their house traumatised. I didn’t have any contact with other family members which meant that I was a teenager, on my own, living on the streets.”

With a violent and unstable childhood, a series of abusive relationships and subsequent depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder made even just surviving a huge feat.

Paige kept going to school but could barely focus. A strong student up until then, she started falling behind, but kept quiet because she was embarrassed to tell anyone what was going on – that her family had left her to fend for herself.

She had to fight to keep herself afloat, working in different jobs from the age of 16, couch surfing with friends when she could, and sleeping rough when there was no one to turn to. And it was all because of circumstances completely beyond her control.

Struggling to cope with being abandoned by her father and the stress of living on the streets, Paige dealt with the traumas she continued to experience as best she could.

Paige went to a GP seeking help for her health issues which included a dependency on codeine, prescribed for persistent headaches linked to years of stress and tension. She went on a treatment plan, and worked hard at getting better, eventually landing a great job. Her boyfriend also proposed. Things were looking up for Paige but that didn’t continue for long.

Life threw another series of setbacks her way. Within weeks of breaking up with her fiancé, Paige was made redundant. As a result, she had a nervous breakdown and was admitted to hospital. When she was discharged, she again found herself with nowhere to go.

Thankfully, while Paige was in hospital, she found out about Vinnies who provided immediate support – from helping her cover ongoing medical costs, through to finding her a place to live.

Paige’s dream is to get a job as a flight attendant. She is trying to work through her childhood trauma so she can fulfil her potential and live a full life. Vinnies is helping her plan towards reaching these goals.

“Without Vinnies, I really do not know where I’d be today. Vinnies has saved my life.”

Your donations help Vinnies provide material and emotional support to people like Paige.

*Real names have been changed to protect the privacy of the people we support.

For a full copy of Making a Difference - Spring 2017 please click here

To donate to the Vinnies Spring Appeal 2017 please click here