Book, Church Event Promote Hope - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Book, Church Event Promote Hope

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It is no easy task to transform hurt into hope. One Houston woman is doing just that.

Cindy Cline-Flores is using her sister's tragedy to try to save others.

Marion Charles was an actress and model. She starred alongside Charlton Heston in "Soylent Green". She was even the first Chiquita Banana girl.

"She was my mentor. She was my best friend" says Flores about her sister.

In 1987, a tragic accident took her sister's life as she knew it.

"She had a head-on automobile accident in the mountains of California and it left her with severe brain damage and physical impairment.

Marion struggled for ten years, hoping to get back to loving life. She soon lost all hope.

"She didn't answer her phone. So we went to her apartment and she was gone. She had committed suicide," says Flores. 50-year-old Marion Charles shot and killed herself.

Flores developed the book "Always Hope". It features 25 ordinary people from the Houston-area who have overcome extraordinary odds.

"He took me to the basement, tied me up to the boiler room, stripped me naked," says Christina Dharamsingh. She says her husband raped, beat and tortured her for 13 years.

"He was punching me and taking the knives and the machete and rubbing it all over my body and graphically describing how he was going to mutilate me," says Dharamsingh.

The mother of two escaped from New York to Houston. Within two weeks, she found an oil company accounting job. She has owned her own accounting company for the past 25 years.

"Never ever give up hope because once you give up hope, you have died inside," says Dharamsingh.

Award-winning columnist and highly sought after photographer Alisa Murray took the pictures for the book. She is also featured for going from tragedy to triumph.

Murray grew up without her mother after she was struck and killed by a train when Murray was just eight years old.

"There's a reason why people succeed. They have to have hope. They have to gather it, find the strength and move on," says Murray.

"The most thing I remember is just being alone and staring into space" says Chhay Mak. He has been in a wheelchair with polio since he was two years old.

Mak survived the 'Killing Fields' in Cambodia. 25 percent of the country was killed during a Nazi-like government takeover. Mak was spared and went on to score a full athletic scholarship to the University of Texas.

Flores hopes that the book will be the inspiration that people need to always have hope.

"Pick up the phone, call someone and say 'I feel so bad that I feel like ending my life.' Because your life is precious," says Flores.

Always Hope: A Night to Remember will take place on Friday, April 9 at 8 p.m. at Unity Church of Christianity in southwest Houston. Everyone is welcome to attend. Several people featured in the book will tell their inspirational stories. A number of musicians will also perform including Yvonne Washington and Bobby Lyle.

On the Web:

Purchase "Always Hope" and View Information for Always Hope: A Night to Remember -- http://www.unityhouston.org/always-hope.aspx

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