RICHMOND, Va. — If you ask Svondai Brown, she should not be alive today. Two years ago the Henrico mother said she suffered a brain aneurysm that nearly killed her. Since then, she said she has undergone three surgeries. Brown said her recent health scares have helped put her life into perspective.
“Facing death, for someone who has never been sick, it was a wake up call for life,” the 38-year-old mother said.
That wake up called has included giving back to those who are less fortunate. Recently, Brown took her children, 17-year-old Lon and six-year-old Nasir, with her as she provided food and gloves to homeless men and women both under a Chamberlayne Avenue bridge and Richmond’s Monroe Park.
“I wanted them to see how some people live,” she said. “Some people don’t get to enjoy Christmas trees. They don’t get Christmas gifts or get to spend Christmas with family.”
The experience was an eye-opening one for her youngest son, she said.
“Mommy — they live under there? Where are their beds?” she said Nasir asked.
Brown said she hoped the experience would instill the importance,within her children, of giving back.
“I want to pass on to my kids the importance of selfless kindness. I want them to feel and understand the joy that stems from helping others without any expectations for recognition or accolades,” Brown said. “If everyone felt the need to offer a helping hand then we could attempt to make the world a better place and that starts with us teaching our kids by example.”
Brown, who said she was a drum major at Thomas Jefferson High School back in the 1990s, has always had a big heart, she said. But, she said, she now gives even more that she’s faced death.
“As long as we have food, my house has light and we have water, why not share with people who don’t have,” she said.