Wow. What a great year it has been, and how quickly it went by too. As the year ends, it’s only natural to reflect on the year and consider the accomplishments we have prevailed through. For myself, the most significant event that took place in 2014 was in February when I met the world-renowned photographer Anne Geddes. She’s known for her stylized depictions of babies and motherhood in her typical fashion by creating a fairy-, flower -, or even animal-like photos of them. This past year she was asked to be apart of a global campaign for meningitis awareness and she took photographs of meningitis survivors. Most of them are babies or children from different parts of the world, whereas I was one of the eldest and represented the United States. Could not have been a more special moment for myself. This is part of my dream: spreading meningitis awareness. Even though the photograph with Anne Geddes is so powerful, I saw this as just the tip of the iceberg of what I can do for myself and for the future with meningitis. Much more to come in 2015 J
In May 2014, I finally graduated college from the University of Texas here in Austin with a degree in Human Development & Family Sciences specializing in Family Relationships in the school of Natural Sciences (And also a minor in communication studies). College graduation has been a long awaited dream ever since I was a child. As we all know, my college route was a little different considering I had to take a year off from school to recover from meningitis (including an 8 month hospital stay). To finish meant that it was just that much sweeter. Thank you UT for a great education, I wouldn’t have asked for it any other way. Hook ‘em \m/
This year, I was able to pursue more of an effort in educating on the vaccine since I have been more available since school doesn’t take most of my time anymore. Not that long ago, I was in Findlay, Ohio speaking at the University with Senator Cliff Hite on the importance of vaccinating. I hope to speak to with more political figures around the country to pursue more state regulations for meningitis as a new years resolution to myself. I traveled well over 15-20 states in the past 6 months speaking to nurses, and thanking them for doing what seems to be a routine at work (giving the vaccine) because nurses, are everyday superheroes. Whether or not they realize, they save lives and I thank them for their work. This summer I did a traveling work tour with Dara Torres on meningitis. Dara is a twelve-time Olympic medalist, a mother, and is obviously one incredible athlete. She has wonderful support, she is super ambitious, and is a leader in many ways and I had a wonderful time spreading awareness on the vaccine this summer. I wish her the best of luck and would love to work with her any time.
On a smaller and yet more personal note of achievement, I loved a lot of different experiences that were new to me. In July I was in my friend’s wedding as her Maid of Honor, I went back to the state fair in Dallas for my first time in 10 years, I went to Bonnaroo which is 4 day music festival in Manchester, TN and then most recently, I got up on a surf board in Hawaii a couple of weeks ago. I honestly did not know if it was possible for bilateral amputees to surf, but I figured out that it is possible. It was a very momentous and proves that no amputee should be living with limits. We should always live beyond our limitations.
I wish everybody the best in 2015.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned. Be sure to follow my tweets @JAMIEgroup14