The following story will break your heart, but it will also make you believe in the power of redemption.
Ginny Burton was born into a life of chaos. She had six siblings, a mother who suffered from mental illness and sold drugs and used them, and a father sent to prison when she was four years old for a string of robberies.
At the age of six, Ginny was already using marijuana care of her own mother. She moved on to meth at 12, and by 14, she was smoking crack.
At 16, she was raped by a man who bought drugs from her mom. The following year, she attempted to take her own life—the first of many times.
Ginny got pregnant, and the baby’s father was shot and killed. She eventually had two children and married into an abusive relationship.
Life had never been good to Ginny, and she never stood a chance from the day she was born.
Things only got worse as she grew older.
At 21, she started using heroin. By 23 years old, she was a hardcore heroin addict.
Ginny and a man named Jack used to feed their addiction by robbing Mexican drug dealers at gunpoint.
This woman was spiraling out of control, and just when she thought she couldn’t go lower, she would.
Ginny had stolen cars, had shot somebody, and had her children taken away from her. And the drugs? They’ve always been there, their grip ever so strong.
“I have 17 felony convictions. I am the person you used to clutch your bag when I walked by you. I am the person that would randomly attack somebody in public. I was not a savory person. Everybody was a victim, and everybody was prey,” Ginny said of her troubled past.
Ginny had been to state prison three times, but her last arrest on December 5, 2012, became her turning point.
Ginny had been committing forgery crimes in Tacoma and had been up all night, high on meth and heroin. She was headed to Walgreens on a stolen truck when a cop pulled her over because one of her lights was out.
“I knew I was OK,” she recalled of the moment. “I knew when he put the handcuffs on me and put me in his car, I knew my life was going to change and it was then, in that moment, that I made the decision to turn it around no matter what it took.”
In prison, Ginny begged to be put into the Drug Diversion Court program. She then received treatment at the Regional Justice Center and got clean and stayed clean.
Since then, Ginny has only moved forward.
She did social service work for the Post Prison Education Program and at the Lazarus Day Center for seven years.
Ginny enrolled at South Seattle College. She admitted feeling out of place and awkward as a grown woman taking classes with kids, but the experience also awakened something in her.
“It made me recognize how much time I had wasted in my life. And I also recognized that I was actually good at learning. something I enjoyed,” she said.
Ginny applied to the University of Washington and was accepted. In 2019, she was awarded a Martin Honor Scholarship to the university. She went on to study political science.
At the age of 47, it was only then that Ginny realized how smart she really was.
She made the all-academic team at the university and became the 2020 Truman Scholar for Washington state.
While all of this was happening, she was working on rekindling her relationship with her husband, Chris Burton, who had been jailed and was recently released. Chris, like Ginny, is now clean.
Ginny shared two side-by-side photos of herself on Facebook. One was a mugshot of her from 2005, and the other was of her wearing a cap and gown when she graduated from the University of Washington.
This brave woman has really come so far, and she isn’t done yet.
Ginny plans to get her master’s degree and use it to make a difference in prisons. She wants to change the system and tackle addiction head-on, both inside and out in the world.
This incredible story is proof that anything is possible and that no one is beyond saving.
Ginny has fallen into the deepest pits of hell on earth, but she has come back stronger than ever—all ready to conquer and change the world.
Please share Ginny Burton’s inspiring story of hope.