Weathering the storm
Two heart attacks back-to-back at 39 years old. The result of stress, worry, and self-neglect. Lela Beechum had known she needed to make a change, but she kept enduring the storms of life until a big one nearly wiped her out. Luckily, she survived.
After a year of bed rest, Lela has embraced a carefree, stress-free, and drama-free life. And what better place to do that than the Keys? “I was given a second chance at life and want to spend it taking care of myself and my daughter, and empowering as many women as possible.”
Lela was born in India and was adopted at age 5 by very loving parents in Colorado. After attending Johnson & Wales University in Miami, she returned to Colorado to start her own family but always felt like she belonged back in Florida.
When a job promotion enabled her to return in 2019, Lela jumped at the opportunity, and she and her daughter immediately moved. She felt like they were getting the fresh start they needed, but then COVID hit. Lela’s father had one of the first serious cases of COVID in Colorado, and Lela was trapped by the lockdown, not knowing if her father would survive and unable to help. All she could do was worry.
The storm inside her brewed and brewed until it unleashed its full force with not one but two heart attacks. Thankfully, she and her father survived, but Lela knew she couldn’t endure a storm like that again. She needed to proactively take control of her life and eliminate worry wherever possible.
Fittingly, Lela began that worry-free life on the 4th of July weekend in 2021, when she and her daughter moved to the Keys. “The Keys embody everything I want out of my second chance. I want to connect with nature, be involved in a strong-knit community, and live free from worry.”
Since her heart attacks, Lela has lost 95 pounds and continues to live a healthier lifestyle. She enjoys paddleboarding at Harry Harris Park, catching her own fish for her pescatarian diet, and gardening with plants purchased weekly from a local market.
Lela is also using her second chance to start a nonprofit, #BeYourOwnKindofBeautiful, that provides resources for young women and single moms. She’s planning backpack drives and many other community events to help support, motivate and empower local women.
She wouldn’t be able to build her nonprofit without her steady job as the Office Manager & Project Coordinator at Wright’s Impact Window & Door. “It’s wonderful to work for a company that appreciates my passion and encourages me to pursue it alongside my day-to-day job.”
A big part of Lela’s mission is to help women minimize the worry in their lives, and she likewise gets to do the same for Wright’s customers. When living in a place known for tropical storms and hurricanes, having impact windows and doors relieves homeowners of the worry that settles in every hurricane season.
Relieving Your Worry
“Impact windows and doors also greatly reduce noise from the outside, creating a more peaceful environment inside,” Lela says. “Plus, if a 100-mile-an-hour tree branch can’t break in your windows and doors, neither can a robber!”
The pandemic hit every industry hard, and many businesses succumbed, but Lela wants everyone to know that Wright’s is here to stay. Despite backlogged materials across the country, Wright’s does everything in their power to quicken the process and ensure their customers get the care and quality they deserve.
Lela hopes her customers don’t endure the storms as she once did because sooner or later, the big one will hit. It’s better to proactively free yourself from the worry of oncoming storms.
–Jerrica Mah is a writer, Army wife, and freelance book editor, who loves to travel with her family.