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DENVER — A year ago, we met Chanel Davis, a young mother who had escaped domestic violence to start a new life in Colorado.
She said that when Denver7 viewers stepped up to help her family, it changed her life.
We caught up with the now mother-to-be at Presbyterian St. Luke Hospital, where she's getting checked out before having her baby girl Jan. 9 — an unexpected bonus in a year in which Davis started a thriving business called Voices for Her.
"Voices for Her is a nonprofit that helps women that are in domestic violence situations get out of them," Davis said.
A year ago, Davis had escaped a violent relationship in Chicago, fleeing with her four children at night to Colorado.
"I was raped and he went to sleep. When he was asleep, I grabbed my kids and just left," she said.
Davis and her kids had lived on the streets and in shelters. Contact7 viewers came through to surprise the family with Christmas presents.
Wheat Ridge police saw our story and, along with Santa, gave the family another celebration. Davis said that day changed her life.
"Before, I was a lot more timid. I feel a lot more bold. I'm not afraid of anything anymore. That's cause of you guys," she said.
Davis used that drive to start her nonprofit, working 24/7 to help more than 200 abused women this year, many posting their gratitude on her website.
She's put on seminars and offered helpful advice to domestic violence victims — everything from helping them find homes, to getting a job, to going back to school.
"I've been there," Davis said. "I know I'm doing something to change the community. I have to put a stop to the stigma of women being too quiet or scared. I'm not scared to speak up. So if you don't want to, I will for you," she said.
Davis said her new baby will be a strong, independent woman. Her goal is to have her baby work alongside her, empowering women.
"It feels like a dream but I know it's real because I see the progress," she said.
And after a magical year, Davis said she's just getting started, and she's grateful for the help she's received along the way.
"Thank you guys. I love you so much. I can't express how much love I have for Denver7."
You can find more information about Davis's company at voicesforher.org.