Charlotte Bonds could do a master class on gratitude. Despite a bout with Stage 4 breast cancer, losing a daughter to cancer, and dealing with the aftermath of a not-so-great ex who trashed her car and her house before leaving with her air-conditioning unit, Bonds describes herself as “so blessed.”
Part of that sense of thankfulness comes from what she describes as a miraculous recovery from cancer after she had tried everything else.
“I reminded the Lord about Hezekiah and asked him to add more years to my life too,” she said. “The horrible pain I was feeling disappeared. I’m not embarrassed or ashamed to tell people about what He did for me.”
A resident of the area for more than 30 years, Bonds lives near the Flying Saucer Pie Company. Despite receiving Social Security payments, she needed an additional source of income to keep up with her insurance premiums. But Bonds was still frail and needed something flexible. That’s when the seamstress with 55 years of experience called The Leader, placed a small ad, and started an alterations business.
Her attention to detail, ability to work on complex jobs, and reasonable prices earned her steady work and a loyal following among Oak Forest residents. Two of those clients were Elyssa Horvath and former KPRC anchor Courtney Zavala.
“She’s an amazing person,” Zavala said of Bonds. “You could talk to her for five minutes and feel like you’ve known her for five years.”
After Zavala learned that Bonds didn’t have a working AC unit, she talked to Horvath about galvanizing the Oak Forest community to help.
“I thought with all the people who know her, it can happen,” said Zavala.
Seth Higgins with ASR Mechanical immediately volunteered to pay her a visit to set her up with a unit, wholesale, as well as free labor for the install.
“I read about her situation on Facebook and thought it would be a good opportunity to help someone that really needs help,” said Higgins. “We are a family owned business and we try to help our community when we can.”
MANNA and Leather Apron Foundation also jumped in to set up a fund to assist her through their joint Pay It Forward program.
Patricia Dornak with MANNA found out that Bonds needed a wrought iron door to make her feel safer. So far, the gofundme account for Bonds (http://www.gofundme.com/manna-charlotte) has raised over $1,500 towards the total goal of $2,500. Those wanting to help with the “Pay It Forward” can also drop off donations to the MANNA Resale store, located at 1806 W. 43rd St.
“I feel like Alice in Wonderland or Cinderella,” said Bonds. “I cannot put into words how much I appreciate it. It seems so unreal that people will reach out to you like that.”