Lost and Found Again.

Crack numbed the hooker so much that she didn’t even realize the foot that she was walking on was broken. For weeks she walked down Colfax, too high to feel the pain, turning tricks for as little as $10 to get another rock. By the time she finally sobered up, the broken foot was so badly damaged that it had to be amputated. The doctors told her that they’d probably have to cut off her other leg, too, because she’d been walking on it so awkwardly for so long that it was also beyond repair.

The surgeries didn’t go smooth. Her body was so beaten from her years as a crack ho that she had a stroke and slipped into a coma in November 2005, when she should’ve been graduating with the Chrysalis program, a Denver-based treatment plan to get addicted women off of crack and off of Colfax. (The photos shown here were taken for a story on that program.), This was the first-ever graduation for former prostitutes, and five– including Baby Girl – made it through, collecting their certificates and smiling for the many news cameras in the courtroom that day.

The graduates said a prayer for the woman in a coma. The outlook was grim; everyone thought she was going to die. But somehow she pulled out of it. After the stroke, she can’t count as well as she used to. And without both legs, today she rolls down Colfax in a wheelchair.

Just to run errands, not to turn tricks.

--Luke Turf

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Crystal Preston-Watson