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(Olive Branch, MS) - Nine-month-old Bella was born with a ton of complications.
“Her esophagus wasn't connected to her stomach and her stomach wasn't connected to her intestines,” said her mother, Catherine Pennington. “She had seven holes in her heart.”
Five surgeries got her to this point, but the infant requires breathing and feeding machines and the care of a loving mother to keep her alive, but the power to the home and those machines was cutoff Thursday after Catherine Pennington failed to pay the $115.00 energy bill.
“[Bella] depends on me for everything,” said Pennington. “It’s hard and then when you're lights get cut off. That's your livelihood. What can you do?,” she added. “It makes me feel bad for her. She depends on me and I feel like a failure because I couldn't pay the light bill.”
Pennington can't work because her daughter requires so much work and no daycare will keep Bella because of the medical liability. She says she feels helpless.
“My family, you know, everybody's struggling,” she said. “I know it’s hard out here. You reach out for help and people help you where they can.”
The Northeastern Electric Power Association says they tried to work with Pennington by giving her an extra week, but Pennington says Bella's disability check wouldn't come for two weeks, ultimately leaving her stranded. A spokesperson with the company says they make special arrangements for people like Bella, but a doctor’s note requesting power must be given to the company prior to any cut-off.
“I don't understand why they couldn't have given me a chance,” said Pennington. “It was just one week.”
Pennington just got the power bill in her name and failed to pay the first and only bill she received from the company. They said if she were an established paying customer they would be more willing to work with her without the doctor's note.