Heather is a wonderful mom to two daughters, one-year-old Evelyn and five-year-old Natalie. Her debut into motherhood wasn’t easy—Natalie was born at 28 weeks with a variety of medical complications, including cerebral palsy, quadriplegia, cortical visual impairment, and epilepsy. Now, Heather is Natalie’s full-time caretaker while Heather’s husband Rusty, a former Marine, works full-time. Heather is incredibly grateful for Rusty and knows that she wouldn’t be able to be so involved in her children’s lives if he didn’t work as hard as he does.
Heather has had to work hard to keep Natalie healthy. Because Natalie has epilepsy and a feeding tube, she needs an assistant at school to help keep her safe through seizures and meals, but Natalie’s insurance, CoverKids, wouldn’t cover this help that Natalie needed. Heather applied to get this kind of care for Natalie from TennCare but didn’t hear back.
After nine months of waiting for a response, Heather called the Tennessee Justice Center for help. TJC explained how TennCare works and helped Heather figure out what other agencies she should talk to. Regarding the help she received at TJC, Heather said, “They helped me understand the whole system and what our rights are. Just having that support gives you peace of mind.”
Even though Heather’s motherhood journey hasn’t been without difficulties, she takes each challenge in stride. When asked what it’s meant to be a mother, she said, “It’s really let me see the simple things in life. Just the little bounds that Natalie has accomplished make me incredibly happy.”
For her tireless advocacy for her daughters and her love for her family, the Tennessee Justice Center is proud to recognize Heather Brown as one of our 2019 Mothers of the Year.