What happens when the disaster strikes the father? Who then gives out the securing hugs and reassuring smile?
For Marvin Davis, 39, of Renova it has been his lovely wife Vanessa and their unconditional love and faith which has held their family together while Marvin has been going through renal failure.
Because of the circumstances surrounding Marvin and Vanessa along with their children Tia, 15 and twin daughters Tamera and Tia, both 10, concerned citizens of Bolivar County will sponsor a benefit program at 5 p.m. Sept. 14 at the United Baptist Church in Cleveland.
The kidney foundation will assist each patient only once a year financially with $100.00. Wherever Marvin has his transplant, he and his wife will have to stay in a hotel for several weeks. Therefore they are in need of financial support.
A special bank account has been set up at Regions Bank in Cleveland for Vanessa Davis/The Davis Family Fund. You can also mail you donation to Davis Family Fund, P.O. Box 1721, Cleveland, MS 38732.
"The benefit program is something that God laid on the heart of Ola Kirk who is a member of St. Peter's Rock Church. Her idea went hand in hand with Delores Johnson, Johnnie Ruth Stewart and Mary Williams who were all thinking about the same thing. They had a discussion and the Holy Spirit agreed and so they're all coming together with others to try and raise funds to help our family," said Vanessa.
Before experiencing renal failure, Marvin was a very active man in the community. He was employed with Cleveland Crisis Intervention, but due to his condition he is no longer able to maintain his job. Marvin undergoes dialysis treatment three times a week for 4.25 hours each visit.
Currently Davis is on the transplant list in New Orleans and waiting to be called. He is in the process of being listed in Jackson, Alabama and Nashville.
For Davis life changed on Aug. 29, 2010 when he visited the doctor and found that what he thought were flu like symptoms was actually something more serious.
He was hospitalized on Sept. 23 at Bolivar Medical, but prior to that he had kidney scans done, but because his insurance wouldn't pay for it he opted to self medicate instead of going back to the doctor.
"I tried to avoid it, but you know your body. I couldn't lie down and sleep, I had to sit in chairs and go to sleep. Honestly I was in denial, scared and just didn't want to believe it. When I saw my regular doctor and he told me there wasn't anything he could do for me I wanted to give up," said Marvin.
Although the news for Davis was devastating, the faith he and Vanessa walk in kicked in immediately and they knew to turn to God.
"It was tough because Marvin didn’t want to leave his job. Any real man doesn't want to be a burden on his family. He wanted to provide for his family and with him having to leave the job he didn't want to burden us. I told him that there's no I in team and that we're in this together," said Vanessa.
While dealing with his renal failure, Marvin and Vanessa have never stopped operating in faith and prayer.
"The first thing that kicks in when you find out something like this is fear, but when you are a family of faith the next step is understanding that you have to trust and believe in God. I have seen a lot of people just give up. I've heard them say, 'I'm tired and I can't go through this' and they do. At 39 I have to believe I can get a kidney, you have to believe that God will make a way for you," said Marvin.
Throughout the ordeal, Marvin said he understands now that he had to go through this.
"I look at it like this. I love my enemies and I haven't done anybody wrong so I know God is putting me through this for a reason. I feel like Job. If God is putting me through this I know he will see me through it," Marvin said.
For Marvin life has always been about being as positive as you can and helping as many people as you can, so it comes as no surprise as that as soon as he walked through the doors of Cleveland Renal Care he was named the patient advocate and the Network 8 representative for the center.
"I represent a region," said Marvin. I don't feel like it's a job, I feel like God placed me in this dialysis unit for a reason. I'm here to help people. Each and every day I go I try to encourage somebody to do the time and get clean and to keep going. If God can do it for me I need to make sure I do it for someone else," Marvin added.
Vanessa said looking at how her husband has handled his situation makes her proud.
"He gives me strength. Some days he's tired and he gets weak. When there are people who sit next to him during dialysis and he gains close relationships with them and they die, it puts a damper on his spirit and I have to be there for him to let him know that you're here and until your mission is complete you're not going anywhere," said Vanessa.
Marvin believes that the family is prepared to deal with any and every obstacle that comes their way and he believes that helping his wife when she was ill help prepare him for what he's dealing with now.
In 2006 Vanessa was diagnosed with Chiari malformation decompression and had two vertebrae removed along with a portion of her cranium.
"A portion of my brain had scooped into my neck socket. They said the surgery was successful, but I'm still dealing with the migraines headaches," said Vanessa.
To deal with Marvin's health issues and Vanessa's, Marvin suggests that you have to be in control.
"You can't just put it in auto-pilot, you have to be in control. My happiness will always outweigh my unhappiness, but in order to do that you must stay prayerful and trust God. You have to have a solid foundation. We are not going to let the devil in our circle because we are in control," Marvin pointed out.