One woman's journey from homelessness to helping others

Milagros Bursey found herself living in a shelter after suffering a stroke. 5 years later, she has her own apartment and helps other women get back on their feet.

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Five years ago Milagros Bursey suffered a stroke and found herself homeless. Today, she has her own apartment and is giving back to those who find themselves in similar situations.

It was New Year’s Eve in 2012.

"Right after midnight I started experiencing a right-side stroke,” said Bursey.

Bursey survived, but faced a long recovery. She was forced to close her business and found herself living in the Hope House shelter. That's where she met Dr. Chrystal Jenkins with Rochester Regional Health’s Health Reach program.

"Even though she was dealing with several complex health issues and she was very stressed about them, she was still so bright and positive,” said Dr. Jenkins.

"The first thing that really helped me was that she listened,” said Bursey.

Dr. Jenkins laid out a recovery plan for Bursey, but it was more than medical. She helped her find an apartment at the YWCA.

"She found a community and was able to settle right in and be very active in that community,” said Dr. Jenkins.

Bursey immersed herself in helping other women get off the streets.

"Their families are coming back together. The children they weren't able to be with, they are with their children now,” said Bursey. "Some of the girls have come off the street and since I've been there have graduated with their associates degree. You know you're helping to make a change not just in their lives, but for the city of Rochester."

Milagros earned her own GED in 2014. Today, she attended a memorial to remember homeless people our community lost this year and to say thank you to a doctor and a friend.

"I know she's a doctor, but she feels like a family member,” said Bursey.

"I'm just so proud of her. I feel so honored that she views me as one step of her journey. She's taken it and run and I'm just so thrilled for her,” said Dr. Jenkins.

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