Patient story

Yoko Hooper

Hi. My name is Yoko Hooper and I live in Las Vegas, Nevada. I have a daughter named Mahogany Hooper and she is ten years old. We have a tea-cup chiwawa dog that thinks she is a “pit bull” and we have a 13 year old cat named whiskey that has a huge attitude challenge.

I was born with a hole in my heart forty-three years ago and I was supposed to have died four surgeries ago. I believe the Lord worked overtime to keep me alive for something.

I worked on a job as a leasing agent of apartments and manager for thirteen years straight. Despite my health challenges and blessings I was able to take care of myself and my daughter and our pets. However, on March 16th, 2006 while I was out sick suffering from breathing problems, walking, tiredness, and all symptoms associated with pulmonary hypertension, my employer fired me. My health since then has taken a turn, sometimes for the worst because now I’m financially destitute – but I’m not spiritually destitute. After a tremendous amount of soul searching and praying I forgave my former employer. But I also realized that what had happened to me was wrong and illegal. My heart and my head knew that if I didn’t do something, it would happen to someone else.

My daughter is a special needs child but I raised her to rise above her challenges. Just because people have health conditions they should not be cast aside and punished for it. I enjoyed working. My parents fought so hard to keep me alive so that I can grow up to be a productive citizen. I want that for my daughter and others.

I have filed a civil rights suit and a violation of the Family Medical Leave Act against my former employer. I don’t have an attorney – I can’t afford and attorney. We are on Nevada Medicaid, food stamps and are in the Energy Assistance Program. Having to receive public assistance has been a very humbling experience. Nevertheless, I thank God for His love and blessings. We have food to eat, shelter, clothes on our backs and most of all – each other.

My biggest challenge here in Las Vegas has been to find and keep an attorney to help me. You see Las Vegas is a right to work state but it’s not a right-to-treat-people-inhumanely-and-violate-their-basic-survival-rights-and-deny-them-of-their-livelihood-to-work-even-if-they-have-pulmonary-hypertension state.

Please pray. Our strength in the Lord – and I hope this story, too – will be encouraging to someone. Thank you.


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The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) awarded PHA the Abbey S. Meyers Leadership Award in 2012 for outstanding service to PHA members in advocacy, education and other key areas.