Lisa has three children: Tucker, Nicholas, and Christopher. Tucker has struggled with health conditions his whole life that include high-functioning autism, epilepsy, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition that makes his heart walls abnormally thick and makes it difficult to pump blood. Lisa refers to Tucker as a “miracle child” because he’s been able to do a lot that they originally did not think he would be able to do. Tucker has been able to defy all odds, graduating from high school and going on to college with the strong support of his family, teachers, and doctors.
Tucker is currently on the Employment and Community First Choices (ECF CHOICES) program through TennCare. This program is for adults 21 years old or older who have an intellectual or developmental disability but don’t need to be in a nursing home. Lisa says getting the health care Tucker deserves and navigating the complex health care system has not been easy—there have been many struggles to get him the services he has now.
Lisa has stood strong and advocated for Tucker through everything for the past 22 years and continues to fight tirelessly to make sure her son gets all the health care services he deserves. In addition, she has also dedicated her time to helping people in her community navigate the complex healthcare system of Tennessee by volunteering with TN Voices for Children. When asked why it was important to fight for the healthcare needs of all Tennesseans, Lisa replied simply that people often don’t even know what rights to care they have. People deserve to get the healthcare they need, and she will continue to help people understand these rights.
Beyond simply supporting Tucker in his needs, Lisa has also pushed Tucker to achieve his dreams. Tucker loves working with animals and has an emotional support dog named Sampson. He volunteers at an animal shelter now and wants to continue working with animals in the future. Additionally, for Tucker’s 18th birthday, he wanted to fly somewhere by himself. Lisa was able to support him in and send him to Florida to see family, and he was so proud that he was able to fly by himself.
Lisa and her family have been long-time clients and advocates of the Tennessee Justice Center. TJC has been happy to serve as the voice Lisa needed when her voice was not enough. Her advocacy for her son, Tucker, and her passion to support families like hers is remarkable. Lisa is truly an incredible fighter and mother, and TJC is thankful to know and support her work.