Stacey Hawley

Forward from here. I met a caregiver early in my journey who shared this quote with me. I had it tattooed on my wrist so that every time I looked at my watch, I would remember that while there are setbacks, we don't go backward, we go forward. Whatever that may be.

What are your biggest challenges as a caregiver?

Initially, grappling with the reality of my son’s situation posed the greatest challenge. Accepting the profound changes his condition brought to our lives was a journey in itself. Financial strain soon followed, as I found myself unable to balance the demands of caregiving with my full-time job as a paralegal. The stress became overwhelming, culminating in a health crisis mere days after my son’s accident. I had a heart attack at the hospital just three days after he was hospitalized. My financial situation was so bad that at one point, I resorted to selling my blood to make ends meet.

What resources or support networks do you utilize?

I rely on an array of invaluable resources and support networks to navigate the complexities of caregiving. Organizations like Veterans Directed, Semper Fi Fund, and the Wounded Warrior Project have been lifelines, offering assistance and guidance tailored to our unique needs. Additionally, the VA respite care program has provided essential relief, allowing me to recharge while ensuring my son receives the care he deserves. Participating in events hosted by Wounded Warrior Project, Black Dagger Military Hunt Club, and similar associations not only enriches my son’s life but also fosters a sense of belonging and camaraderie. Above all, connecting with fellow caregivers has been an unparalleled source of strength and solidarity.

Tell us who you are outside of your role as a caregiver. What interests you? Do you go to school, work, or volunteer? Are you an entrepreneur?

Beyond my role as a caregiver, I am a dedicated professional with a passion for the legal field. Working periodically as a paralegal for the attorney I previously worked with has been immensely fulfilling, providing me with a sense of purpose and autonomy. Despite the challenges I’ve faced, I refuse to let caregiving define my entire identity. Instead, I embrace it as an integral part of who I am— a compassionate individual committed to making a difference. As a Fellow with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, I am empowered to leverage my experiences and expertise to advocate for fellow caregivers, ensuring they receive the support and resources they need to thrive.

Is there a quote or song that inspires/motivates/uplifts you?

“Forward From Here.” These words, imparted to me by a fellow caregiver early in my journey, serve as a guiding light through life’s trials and triumphs. Engraved on my wrist as a constant reminder, this mantra encapsulates the resilience and determination that propel me forward, even in the face of adversity. It’s a testament to the unwavering belief that, no matter the obstacles we encounter, our path always leads us onward, toward a brighter tomorrow.


My Story