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Tracy Basden: Surviving Through Determination

It’s often the small things in our lives that make the biggest impact. When Tracy Basden reminisces about her dad, Eddie, she speaks about everyday things that made life with him fun, like how he could transform a trip to the grocery store into a family adventure. Those simple pleasures a child enjoys with a parent disappeared for Tracy when her father died after a long illness. She was 18, and her brother, Matthew, only 14.

But her story of loss begins much earlier. Her mother died just weeks after Matthew was born, thrusting Eddie into the role of single parent. Eddie rose to the challenge, creating a loving home, but the up-and-down nature of his work as a contractor sometimes made for tough financial circumstances.

There was little time or money to enjoy life’s everyday, simple pleasures.

It was during one of those down times that Eddie cancelled a sizable life insurance policy he had purchased after his wife died, not realizing the far-reaching impact that decision would have. It meant that upon his untimely death, Tracy was instantly thrust into the world of adults. She became legal guardian—and surrogate parent—to her brother and at times found herself working 90-plus hours a week to make ends meet. There was little time or money to enjoy life’s everyday, simple pleasures.

A lesson learned

Financially life continues to be a struggle, as Tracy balances both working and studying to become a nurse. While money wouldn’t have brought back her parents, Tracy does think of how things might have been different if they had purchased more life insurance. “Dealing with death is hard enough,” she says. “Dealing with death without any money is extremely hard. It’s definitely important to have life insurance.”

You can help students like Tracy make their dream of a college education come true by donating to the nonprofit Life Lessons Scholarship fund. Donate here.

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