Norfolk, Va. (WTKR) - One year ago, life changed for the Parinas family of Chesapeake.
Aerock Parinas, an Army National Guardsman, had come home from training tired. A few hours later at the hospital, his wife Renatta was told her husband was bleeding from the brain.
"Getting him care has been the number one problem and then he started having seizures from the brain surgery so he cannot drive so I have to take him everywhere," Renatta told NewsChannel 3's Todd Corillo Wednesday.
Renatta found herself thrust into an unexpected position, caring for both Aerock and their 3-year-old daughter Adelynn.
"My job is taking care of him and Adelynn. So it’s been hard. It’s been really hard."
It wasn't until a few months ago, after many sleepless nights and losing significant weight, that Renatta realized she couldn't care for her loved ones if she wasn't caring for herself.
"I have to take care of me first so that I can take care of them because I am the only one that is doing everything. If I don’t take care of myself, then they fall apart too," Renatta explained.
Caring for the caregivers has been a focus of Heal the Warriors, a local non-profit focused on providing treatment for service-related Traumatic Brain Injury.
"They are the unsung heroes really. They provide support on the back-end and take on so much burden than anyone ever realizes," Cara Mae Melton, co-founder and chairman of Heal the Warriors explained.
Throughout the year, they offer workshops and events to support caregivers.