Its been almost 25 years since Treddor Melvin was diagnosed HIV positive. Widowed twice, she has raised five children and worked and volunteered without allowing the disease to take a toll on her life.
A few months ago, Melvin took on another challenge: caring for a 1-year-old girl. Her niece suffered a stroke that put her in a coma and destined her baby to foster care. Melvin gave her a home while her niece recovers in a nursing home.
Its a hard task, said Melvin, 52, of Sunrise, mother of five ranging from age 17 to 35. Im tired, Im worn out and the disease takes a toll on my immune system.
She contracted HIV from her first husband.
In addition to her health problems, Melvins car broke down and she cant afford to fix it. She needs transportation to visit the doctor, see her niece at the nursing home and take her children to school and church activities.
Melvins niece woke from the coma three weeks after her stroke and although she cant yet talk or move, Melvin is certain that her eyes light up when she brings the baby.
Melvin hopes to bring home her niece soon, and take care of her. In order to do that, she would need help from a live-in aide.
My wishes revolve around my niece and the baby, said Melvin. My mission is to help wherever help is needed. Yes, things are bad for me but there is always someone thats worse, like my niece.
There are things that Melvin can no longer do because she is caring for the baby. But she has decided to see it as a pleasure and as a way to teach her children that its better to give than to receive.
Im happy she is trying to be a good person, but at the end of the day who is there to help her? asked daughter Terrell Melvin, 17. .
Terrell helps with the baby and is doing her best to keep up good grades. She hopes the car can be fixed quickly because she has not been able to attend her church group or be part of a dance team.
I try to think that hopefully our situation will get better, said Terrell, who needs a computer to do homework. I want to go to college, I want to make something of myself so my mom and I dont have to struggle.
Melvin remains positive. She is looking forward to her familys future while she continues to pray for her nieces recovery.
Im a worker and I will not let this disease stop doing anything that I can get up and do, she said.