Walking into Res/Title, one of the first faces you will see is Rachel Lesperance, who handles new customer onboarding and Home Equity Loans (HELOCs). We spoke with Rachel, whose space is always decorated accordingly for each holiday, while she answered phone calls from borrowers and efficiently placed the order for our company’s lunch. She explained month’s “End of the Month for a Cause,” where we will be raising money for a disease her sister has battled for the last 20 years: Dystonia.
“It means a lot that we are doing this,” said Rachel, “It’s a cause that people don’t know about. Many people suffer silently.”
Dystonia is movement disorder, which causes muscle contractions and repetitive movements or posture similar to Parkinson’s disease. The movements are usually twisting and patterned movements, which looks like tremors. Estimates suggest that no fewer than 300,000 people are affected in the United States and Canada alone, according to the Dystonia Foundation. We are grateful that her older sister Eliza, who’s birthday happens to be on Christmas Eve, was willing to share her story with us.
Eliza was diagnosed with Dystonia at age 16, but lived with the disease undiagnosed 5 years prior to the diagnosis, starting with a strep infection that spread to her entire body. During that time she suffered with painful treatments and procedures and even had trouble eating and swallowing. Because Eliza lacked the genetic markers for Dystonia the disease was hard to diagnose.
“She felt like a prisoner in her own body,” Rachel explained. “I watched this girl get penicillin injections in her legs and even Botox injections. I had to grow up quicker. I had to be the big sister.”
The girls’ oldest sister, Emily, was always there to protect Liza in school.
“We were the three musketeers,” said Rachel.
There is no cure for Dystonia yet and doctors only treat the symptoms of dystonia.
“My doctors treated me with medication and Botox for many years,” said Eliza “The treatments helped for a little bit, but dystonia is degenerative, meaning the symptoms get worse over time. So eventually there would be no relief.”
Luckily, at age 24 Eliza tried Deep Brain Stimulation usually only used on Parkinson or Tourette’s patients and although it wasn’t a 100% percent guarantee it will help, thankfully she saw results.
“While this was scary, I have been doing much better. I am more comfortable and they can give me relief when I get more symptoms,” Eliza said. “Without the Dystonia foundation I would not be where I am today. I have my masters in Health Care Administration and strive to maybe one day help someone just like me.”
“She’s finally comfortable in her own. She’s no longer afraid to go out.” Rachel explained that Eliza’s quality of life has improved. Many people suffering from Dystonia battle depression like Eliza did. Her mental health vastly improved with the treatment. Because of the brain stimulation, she has gained her fine motor skills back, she is once again able to crochet and cross stich, both hobbies she once enjoyed but slowly lost. Eliza is now 31 and lives in Indiana on a farm with her husband and parents.
Res/Title will make a donation to the foundation on behalf anyone who wears an “ugly” Christmas sweater in celebration of the holiday season. Submit your photos to email@example.com to participate by On December 22nd.
Rachel explained her position at Res/Title changes a lot but mainly she reaches out to borrowers and new clients. As the dedicated representative, she introduces who we are. She also handles Home Equity Closings and fills in wherever needed.
After obtaining a degree in Restaurant and Food Management and working at a hotel, Rachel decided the industry wasn’t for her. When she got a job as a file clerk for a law firm, her career path changed.
“I decided foreclosures took a little piece of my soul,” Rachel said. “I started at the bottom here at Res/Title and worked my way up.”
Two and a half years later, Rachel has been a part of the Res/Title team.
“I love it here. These girls are my family.”
Keep up the good work Rachel! She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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