Washington D.C. with Anne Geddes

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This past January, I had the opportunity to fly out to Washington D.C. with my mother, to celebrate Anne Geddes’ accomplishments on her campaign Protecting Our Tomorrows.  Anne became an advocate for meningococcal disease and the damaging affects it can have on any person.  For those who are unaware, meningitis typically kills within 24 hours and has been known to be the fastest killing disease.  Those who survive usually are impaired with life long complications, like myself, a new amputee.  In Anne’s project, she photographed 15 survivors from all over the world, with a global initiative aimed at raising awareness and the importance of it’s prevention through vaccination.
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I was lucky enough to be selected to represent the United States in the first photo seen in this blog post.  When I arrived on set on a wintery day in Vancouver, I didn’t know what to expect, except for the fact that this would be the most professional photo-shoot that my advocacy career has ever embarked on! Haha. Meeting Anne was splendid, and her vision was even more impeccable.  She showed me this statue of Helen of Troy that she found and wanted me to  embody her.  I was flattered, and couldn’t be more excited.  The photo came out beautiful and Anne was able to create a wonderful Gallery in D.C. to show them all. There was an art gallery holding all of her portraits, and I was able to meet fellow survivor Kate from Canada.  She’s almost done with high school and plans to go to college.  It was really great to meet another photographed survivor.  Not only is she beautiful but also she has a lot of charisma (Her photo is the second one, purple).   Kate and I both spoke at the event, and Anne stepped up to the plate to knock the ball out of the park.  Her theme throughout the campaign is Protect, Nurture, and Love.  These words don’t shy away from the photos and what they portray.  I am adding a link to Anne’s website where you will be able to see all of the other photographs. http://www.annegeddes.com/protecting-our-tomorrows-1/paired with life long complications, like myself, a new amputee.  In Anne’s project, she photographed 15 survivors from all over the world, with a global initiative aimed at raising awareness and the importance of it’s prevention through vaccination.

 

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It was a pleasure to be photographed by Anne, and I would love to do it any time, obviously.  To step into her world, and meet her team, family, and be apart of her vision is something that I will forever hold dear to my heart.  I was able to meet her daughters in Vancouver and see her husband again in D.C., and they are just as wonderful as she is.

As a component to Anne’s portrait series, we both share the same passion for meningococcal awareness because many people loose their lives to the disease without even knowing that they had the chance to protect themselves.  When I became ill and stayed in a hospital for months at a time, I was disappointed to know that it all could have been prevented through a simple vaccine.  I encourage everyone who hears my story, to take a moment and learn about the disease, and how easy it is to protect you from it.  This passion of mine, is emotional, personal, and now has become my own motivating force to become an informative piece to an equation for a better tomorrow.  Don’t wait, Vaccinate.

Thank you Anne for letting me be part of a global effort in protecting out tomorrow,

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Jamie

 

 

 

 

Goodbye 2014!

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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

Almost Thanksgiving!

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Hello followers!! What a worlds win life it has been for the past couple of years!  Thank you for always keeping in touch and seeing what I am up to nowadays.  My apologies for the delay on my postings and lack of continuous updating, but I promise that I’m planning to reattribute my focus on keeping everyone in the know with my advocacy efforts. First things first, I would like to say that I finally graduated from the wonderful University of Texas at Austin with the class of 2014!  Hook ‘em \m/  !         I am now a proud Texas Exes!  On my graduation day, I was able to bring my tiny gopro camera with me to record all of the ceremonies, and I will post what I captured in a later blog post.  It was a long awaited goal of mine to graduate, but after a grueling experience in the hospital for half a year and then to follow with a semester off for competitive cycling, I came across the most important finish line… Receiving my diploma.  I graduated in the school of Natural Sciences with a major in Human Development & Family Sciences.  This major is similar to psychology, but with more focus on interpersonal communications, in a sociological aspect.  I loved it.  In a way, I do miss group discussions and delving into debated topics, but for now, I couldn’t be more excited to focus on my future.

I have been out of school for about 6 months and have been with my current job for almost three years.  I work as an advocate for a global vaccine company, where I am flown across the country to give speeches on my experience with the disease.  I do appreciate meeting all of the different nurses, doctors, clinical professions, etc and hearing their positive feedback from my speeches.  I now have been to over 32 states in the US due to my job, and I can’t wait to see that number go up.  Before I was in the hospital, I probably had only visited six or seven states?  It’s important to get my voice heard, especially when it matters.  In a lot of different states, they do not have mandatory regulations for college students and even middle school students don’t get their vaccinations against meningitis.  And so, if I can, I try to reach out to any political advisors or connections to show the importance on1528460_10203030297388892_2712602229467111651_n protecting innocent children from a vaccine preventable disease. Not only could I have lost my life to this disease, but many people are at the same risk and do not even know it.

Now with college out of the way, I am determined to dedicate my career and time to further spread the word on the harms of meningitis.  There might be some changes on the Jamie Group website, which will lead to more updates and blog posts to the website for people to follow along.  Thank you friends, family and people who I have not even met! Your support means a lot to me and I hope to see more of ya’ll soon.

Long overdue update

Velodromes at Home Depot Cenetr

Hello consistent readers! Excuse the delay with this post, but there is much to update on.  Currently I am in school and taking a class in Personal Relationships at UT here in Austin.  It's good to be back on campus again since I took this past semester off for traveling and cycling.  And boy, that semester went by quickly.

I know I've blogged on the trips I've done recently in Paris for a meningitis conference and a relay triathlon in La Jolla, CA.  But It's been long over due, and I'm going to post about the rare experience I had in Guadalajara where I road in the Para Pan American Games.  What an amazing experience.  I was very new and definitely intimidated by everything, including the team - The US Paralympic Cycling Team.  Who would of thought that in three years from when I got sick, I would be riding with this elite team?! Blows my mind.  I never knew this would be in my life?

In early November the Paralympic Committee (I believe) sent my mother and I to LAX where I would go to Carson, CA to have my first practice at the velodromes with my team. When I first walked in, everything was very quiet since the arena gives an echo like affect.  First off this place was huge! It's an indoor cycling track 250 meters long and on their turns can bank I think close to 48 degrees.  With this steep turn, you must obtain a certain speed in order to maintain steady on the turn, or you can slip and fall.  On a side note, I know that the US para cycling team are competing in LA this weekend to participate in the World's track event at the Home Depot Center.  I am not competing because in order to go to World's, you must have been at the Nationals track competition, and since I wasn't there I do not compete in World's.  Unfortunately, I will not be there this weekend either to support the teammates because I have an exam next week that I must make a good grade and there is much to read still.  And on that note, I wish them luck this weekend.  I know they really want to beat Canada and I hope they do.  Good luck to them!

Back to the track practice.  I had never done this before, nor have I seen what a velodrome looked like.  But I loved it.  Yes, scared at first but with the right speed, the turns are fun to do.  The teammates were great to meet, and all had very interesting stories to share.  Some are amputees like me, some are partially or close to being completely visually impaired, others may have  MS, or others have recovered from a stroke. But all are BEASTS on the track.  They are all insanely fast.  I had no idea how I was going to catch up with these people.  I thought, "Am I going to actually get that fast??" This was just the beginning.  Each teammate varied on how long they've been on the team. Some whave been on since the late 90s and some have been on for just two years.  But most, if not all, were at the Paralympics in Beijing.  Some of my teammates are World Champions, and at practice, they are the ones that giving me advice and are helping me through my first track experience.  Unbelievable and I am grateful.  You can say, I'm learning from the best.

So to say the least, I had a blast and discovered that the track is my new love when it comes to cycling.  You don't have to worry abut hills or  bumps on the road or anything.  Just go fast and turn left.  Ha.  Very fun and I can't wait to do it again.

 

And forgot to mention how much US cycling team"swag' I got.  I loved it, and was slightly overwhelmed but couldn't complain.  So much Nike gear, and amazing new cycling outfits with USA on it. Pretty cool, if you ask me.

 

Practice lasted only four days.  When meeting my teammates, they had no idea that it was my first time on the track and they said I did really well and that I impressed them.  I was relieved.   But soon after, maybe just a short week after, I was being flown to Guadalajara for the Para Pan American Games.  My first international competition!  Very thrilling, exciting and I will remember it all forever.  I even walked down with the US Team to celebrate the opening ceremonies! It was crazy! Soo many performances, and soo many athletes! Definitely a proud moment.

The Day after that we were doing the Time Trail on the Road, where I had to ride 24 miles in the middle of the city.  The roads in Guadalajara aren't so smooth either.  Thank goodness I brought my bike to Bicycle Sports Shop to give my Specialized Allez road bike, that was given to me as a sponsorship, for a checkup.  Let me just add that this bike is and has been amazing to me.  Such a great fit for me.  She does well on the road and she really proved herself on the bumpy brick roads in Mexico. And thank goodness the service crew at BSS were able to sync my bike up to Dillo tires to secure them from dangerous terrain down there.  Thanks people at Bicycle Sports Shop.  You guys helped me out in my journey through the Para Pan American Games and I appreciate it!

Other than that, I did well on the road and  I did great on the track.  I competed in two different events on the track; the pursuit (12 laps = 3000 meters) and the sprint (2 laps = 500 meters).  Not the fastest one out there, but definitely set my own personal record.  I gotta say, it's crazy to think how this is just my 6th or 7th day on the track, and I'm in an international event - pretty cool.  Then on the last day we had the road race(our fourth event), and I had to ride 24 miles.  I can't believe I was able to experience something unique like this.  Not many people can say they have did this, and now I can say that I have.

I can't wait to do it again and for now, that news/information is on standby.  When it comes to going to the Paralympics in London this fall, it becomes very tricky.  Basically there are only a certain amount of slots for the athlete, that each country and sport can compete for.  And with each event (Pan American, World track, World Cup, etc.), the team competes in all the events to medal to earn more points, to get more slots for all the athletes.  And in the end, they add the points and determine how many slots are given to each sports, and then the coach decides who goes by filling up the slots with different athletes.  So since there are only a certain amount of slots, it will be difficult to say if I will be going.  I am very new, and everyone else is not only more experienced than me but they are faster.  But who knows, if there are enough points earned for the US cycling team to get more slots for London, then there is a possibility that I can go.  I hope I can go.  I would love to participate, and I will know after the last event (Road nationals this June in Augusta, GA, like last summer).  It's important not only to get many points/slots, but I also must qualify under standard times at the National's Road competition in order to go to London for the Paralympics.  So currently I am home taking very minimal credits so I dont fall behind in my training.  I just signed up for a new gym and also taking on new coaches. Can't wait to get a new routine going and focus on my training.  Can't wait to see what it's going to look like by the end of the semester but I hope to get my Time Trail time down when I am Augusta, GA competing in Nationals in June.  For this may determine if I will be in the Paralympics this fall in London.  Wish me luck.

On a side note.  I am going to be signing up for different local rides here and around Austin.  For example, on Feb 19th there's the Barely Hare Ride at 1 pm.  It's a flat 24 mile course, and I'm ready and eager to get back on the road to race n' ride.  I plan to do more rides and build up my endurance since I really want to do the Shiner GASP ride on Cinco de Mayo where I'll do 100 miles.

 

Thanks for reading and stay posted!

Jamie Schanbaum

 

Challenged Athletes Foundation - San Diego Triathlon

NMA Team - Anna, Mike and Jamie

On Sunday, October 23 the La Jolla Cove was transformed as it hosted the best day in triathlon for  The Challenged Athletes Foundation. More than 200 challenged athletes, kids and permanently injured military personnel participating alongside 500+ able-bodied athletes, celebrities, sports legends and professional athletes  took on the new “challenge distance” triathlon with a 1 mile swim, 44 mile bike, and 10 mile run.  All told, the Aspen Medical Products San Diego Triathlon Challenge raised more than $1.2 million to fund adaptive sports equipment, training and competition expenses for individuals with physical challenges so they can live full and active lifestyles.

Jamie raced with a relay team representing The National Meningitis Association.  Mike LaForgia a meningitis survivor from New York did the 1 mile swim, Anna who represented her boyfriend who is a meningitis survivor did the 10 mile run and Jamie did the 44 mile cycling course. It was clearly a challenged course for Jamie - 44 miles - ugh!!  I complain if I have to drive 44 miles.  But Jamie cycled the course and of course I was truly amazed.  The course was an array of obstacles, beginning with fog and cold riding up to California coast to hills and I mean steep hills through the east side of La Jolla.  KC, Jackie Levy and I were driving the pace car - we drove next to her, in front of her and behind her - cheering her on and of course we were there if and when she needed to stop and take a break.  Take a moment a look at TJG facebook for all our pics - we had a ball.  Again - thanks Lynn Bozof and the National Meningitis Association to allow us to participate in such an amazing event and to once again bring attention to meningitis and to this vaccine preventable disease.

Well now to our next adventure - Jamie will be in Los Angeles with the US Paralympic Cycling Team.  Jamie and the team are at track cycling camp at the LA velodrome.  If you're not aware of this amazing and I must say scary sport check it out at La Velodrome. When we returned from our Meningitis conference in Paris Jamie was informed that she will be adding this sport on top of her road race cycling.  So just another exciting event as Jamie gears up -HA! no pun intended - for the Parapan American Games in Guadalajara Mexico.  We will keep you posted

Confederation of Meningitis Organisation Conference - Paris, France

CoMO Conference  Paris, France

Well, I realize it's been a while since we've posted but needless to say we've been quite busy.  Although there is so much so say it will be all in due time.  What I will do is start with the CoMO Conference in Paris, France and I will work backwards - one post at a time.  So as The JAMIE Group is a member of CoMO and I am the Regional Directors of the Americas we are fortunate to attend this wonderful conference in Paris.  For reference my  Americas Region include Canada - U.S. - Mexico - Central America - South America - Brazil.  It's quite a region but Meningitis is quite an issue all over the world.  The conference included  CoMO members from around the world - 41 representatives from 23 Meningitis organisation and 17 countries from around the world attended making this the biggest conference yet.  The conference is an opportunity to come together to share experiences and ideas,  discuss current situation of Meningitis globally and to gain new skills that will help us raise awareness in our own countries.

We learned a lot and met a lot of wonderful people - it was a learned experience.  The conference gave Jamie and I a chance to meet meningitis survivor and families who have lost loved ones to this horrible vaccine preventable disease.  It was also wonderful to meet Doctors and Scientist who share our hope to protect our loved ones.  The 3 day conference gave us an opportunity to understand this disease more and to learn of the issue other countries have.  It was very upsetting to know the effects of this disease in other countries.  But the conference also ignited another fire inside of us and to understand that there is still so much to do.  When you have an opportunity visit the JAMIE Group facebook page  to see all the incredible people we met and all the fun time we had.

Speaking of fun times we couldn't be in Paris, France - yes I said PARIS, FRANCE without extending our stay and so we did.  And by the way we had our own French speaking Private Tour guide - Roni Schanbaum.  And did I mention Roni's roommate Courtney was able to join us.   Just before Jamie got sick Roni was a student in Paris and so now was our opportunity to see what that was all about.  Well we went and did it all - riding on the Metro was an adventure and of course the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, The Lourve, Sacre-Coeur, The Musee dOrsay, a night ride on the Seine, we saw a show at Moulin Rouge and more and more. Jamie even had an chance to celebrate her 23rd birthday in Paris and of course Roni really got to help her celebrate and to show her the night life of Paris.  Yes there are lots and lots of pictures -  just none of Moulin Rouge - HA!

Well we made it back safely and believe when I say there is nothing like home - the good old USA!!  Jamie of course will agree with that comment.  Today as I write this message our bags are packed ready to take us off to another adventure.  Wait till you hear this - my beautiful, incredibly awesome Jamie is participating in the Challenged Athletes Foundation - San Diego Triathlon.  This will be a relay event and Jamie will be taking care of the cycling part of the relay.  Jamie will be riding 44 miles - unbelievable.  Unbelievable considering that less than 3 years ago Jamie was stricken with Meningitis and less than 3 years ago Jamie lost both legs (below the knees) and all her fingers were amputated because of this horrible vaccine preventable disease.

This adventure never ceases to amaze me and I hope you will be back on board and stay tuned for the incredible journey we've been on and on the adventure we are yet to tackle.  Just a brief summary of what is to come.  I will tell you all about the new law - The Jamie Schanbaum - Nicolis Williams Act and all the opportunities we have to spread awareness, to educate, to inform and to advocate.  We will also tell you of the Gold Medal Jamie won in cycling during the U.S. National Championship in Augusta, Georgia.  This opportunity has lead to the U.S. Paralympics announcing that Jamie is on the roster of 16 cycling athletes (8 men - 8 women) who will compete in the 2011 Parapan Games in Guadalajara, Mexico Nov 12-20.  USA - USA!!  BUT there is more and more to come.

Thanks to all who have supported  Jamie and the Schanbaum Family

december time!

Hey everyone its Jamie, writing you another blog post. Well its December and I can't believe how fast it came. It's silly to think that this summer, i was hoping for it to be December because thats how long I was told, that it would take to independent. I now go and study at coffee shops by myself, I am also driving on 35(watch out), and I also walked into my class for the first time last week. Everything is stupendous when it comes to taking notice at my progress. But I also do something new everyday. All thanks to St. David's rehab, who helped me get my back on my feet-pun intended. A year ago from today, my family were looking for doctors anywhere that would help me save as much as they could for my limbs. Because in Austin, we were told that we were looking at amputating above the knee, and at my forearm. Pretty insain, which makes me grateful that we found the connection to Doctor Linn, who put me in multiple hyperbaric treatments to save more than we were told. And another thanks to him because Doctor Linn was always saying to wait last minute (more like 2 days) until we amputate because, by doing so, we were able to add in more hyperbaric time to give more oxygen to my limbs, which evidently saved as much as it did. Thank you, Doctor Linn!

With it being december and xmas time, my family are going to Brownsville for some family time. We're even going to make tamales! yumm... but its also going to be the first time to celebrate xmas with the Silvas because it has been a loooonnngg time since we have all celebrated xmas together, and the first to make tamales together. "December time" also means school final's to study for, then old fiends come back in town for the break. Im in the moment of studying, but I know soon enough I will be with all of my friends from the A group-Michelle, Sarah, Andy, Cris, Claire, Molly, and Julie. I call them the A group because they were there for me 100% of the time when I was in the hospital and i am eternally grateful to have them in my life. And I haven't been with everyone since the summer, and back then I was in the wheelchair, but now i think they'll all be excited to see me on my legs. "December time," is a good time.

Thanks. Jamie.

Thank you!

So, on Saturday, November 7, we had our first fundraiser and it was a huge success. We don’t know exactly how much we raised, but it was a lot. Maybe I’ll post the final amount, when we finally compile the numbers…. It’s not that it’s a complicated calculus, its that now that we’re done with the event in Dallas, we’re onto planning for the “big” event in Austin on February 27. But, before we (mentally) leave the Dallas event, we have someone we need to thank. Regan Wagh came through for us in a big way, “helping” arrange the venue for us at Liar’s Den, which, by the way, was a fantastic place to have the fundraiser. She’s wonderful! I’d also like to thank the amazing turnout from Jaime’s Dallas-based supporters. I got to see lots of our friends and their families (who, of course, are also our friends) that showed up. Jamie had a great time, and there wasn’t a walker to be seen. Jamie walked around the event meeting all of her fans. She’s really getting quite good at working a crowded room. Really, I just wanted to say thanks to everyone that helped make the fundraiser a huge success. So, thank you… and no, I didn’t win in beer pong. I’m a bit embarrassed.

One Year Later

One year has passed since Roni rushed Jamie to the hospital because she was having a severe asthma attack. It has been a long, arduous, inspiring, exhausting, heart-wrenching and difficult year for Jamie. Still, knowing how close we got to losing Jamie, we can’t be anything other than happy with where we are. Jamie wasn’t able to get out of bed from November until May (more or less) and now she is walking on prosthetics without any assistance. Remember how many posts were almost entirely dedicated to things like protein levels? Crazy, right? In December of 2008, we sent pictures to Houston in a last-ditch effort to get someone (anyone!) to give Jamie a second opinion about amputating her hands at the wrist and legs above the knee. No one would take her except for Dr. Lin in Houston. Then, in February, after Jamie took about 50 drives in the hyperbaric chamber under Dr. Lin’s supervision, we compared those December 2008 pictures with those taken in February and we saw the miracles that took place in the hyperbaric chamber. Now, Jamie is speaking about her experiences in front of large audiences and telling them about how far she’s come, and those same 2008 pictures are included in the video that plays before she speaks. Jamie has made so much progress, it’s amazing. After thinking that we were going to lose her whole hands, Jamie is writing and drawing better than I ever could.

We have a long way to go before we’re done – in fact I’ll be posting soon about the recommendations we got from Advanced Arm Dynamics about hand-prosthetics and the amazing fundraiser we had for Jamie in Dallas last weekend. She spoke at Shelton and at St. Michael’s. She’s been busy, and I don’t think she would want it any other way. She (and the rest of us) owe a big debt to everyone out there who helped Jamie get back to her life. This is our way of making sure that Jamie has the opportunities to return the favors. Thank you all so much for following Jamie’s journey. It has been… interesting, to say the least. Dramatic? Fun? I hope that, no matter how dark things got, we were able to handle things with a bit of levity and humor. That’s Jamie in a nutshell. She’s got grit but also has a great aura about her. She has embraced her new role and her new life and is really working it. She’s absolutely killing it at her speaking engagements and is making major strides (literally) with her physical recovery on a weekly basis it seems. Jamie is amazing and we’re so lucky to have her with us still. Thank you to everyone who helped us get here.

Speaking of, here is a picture of Jamie and Jen Griffin, who has been a major inspiration for Jamie:

Jamie drives my car! (but first, some info about Saturday's fundraiser)


I really want to tell you this awesome story about Jamie, but first, we need to talk about the fundraising event we’re having for Jamie on Saturday. At Liar’s Den, which, of course, is located at 2710 McKinney Ave, Dallas, TX 75204. It’s going to be awesome, and you’re going to wish you were there… unless you were there… then you’ll be cool. It’s on Saturday, November 7. It starts at 12 and goes until 6 pm, but most of the fun will happen early. We are planning three attraction/events on Saturday. All it costs is 20$. Here is what the 20$ gets you: you’re entered into a beer pong or flip cup tournament and you get all the beer you can drink. If you want to be entered into both of the tournaments, you just need to throw down another $20. Also, there are $3 wells during the event too. Oh, and there’s food too, but that’s from Liar’s Den. I’ve got a few details to add, below…

(1) Silent Auction – holy crap. There are so many items that have been donated for the event. A small sampling of items includes a slew of sporting event tickets (Stars, Mavs, Byron Nelson), hotel stays (Joule Hotel, for example), bottle service (Wish Lounge, PM Lounge), lots of gift cards to stores (Tootsie’s, Castle Gap), restaurants (Sullivan’s, Craft, Pappadeaux and more) and other things (iPod shuffle, wine basket… ). Sounds like a lot, right? Well, it is! And that is why you want to come, obviously!

(2) Beer Pong and Flip Cup tournaments – Not that I condone drinking games (I do), but we’re having a few tourneys set up, just for fun. The Beer Pong Tournament will start at 1 and we’re planning for a bunch of teams, so let me know asap if you and a partner want to play, so I can reserve you a spot! Only 32 spots in the beer pong tourney, max… we may break it down to a 16 team tournament if we don’t fill it up 32, so get in soon! As for the flip cup tournament, it will be 6 people a team and will start, more or less, after the beer pong tournament ends. That’ll be fun too. And the winners of the tournament each get a brunch at Blue Mesa Grill, which, as most people know , is an amazing restaurant in Dallas (and soon, Austin!). Like I said, above, we’ve received some amazing items!

So, yeah, that’s about it for the event, email me if you want to sign up for a beer pong team. My email is “my last name” at gmail.com (you should be able to figure out how to email me, I just don’t want any spambots to get my email…). So, email me with questions or with your beer pong or flip cup teams!

And now, a cute story… So, on Monday, Jamie drove again at occupational therapy with Bob. Later that day, mom told me that Bob told her that Jamie is cleared to drive on her own! This is wonderful and frightening news for everyone! Anyway, Jamie and I were at a calculus review session on campus (which, was an interesting experience on its own) and drove there. Afterwards, I mentioned to Jamie that I was really proud of her for being cleared to drive…

Jamie: What do you mean?

Nick: You’re cleared to drive? Bob said that you can drive on your own now.

Jamie: He didn’t tell me…

Nick: Oh, well he must have told mom then, and she told me… so, do you want to drive?

Jamie: Now?

Nick: Yeah, right now. Sound good?

Jamie: Sure!

Nick: You ever driven at night?

Jamie: No…

Nick: Whatever, drive anyway….

So, the drive went really well! Jamie is still relatively bad driver, so that’s great! We drove from campus to home in my car, not a long drive, but it was dark and student-filled, and she did a solid job! She drove in my car, used her prosthetics to push the pedals, and drove like normal. It reminded me of when she was first learning to drive… so, that’s scary. But, it’s a big hurdle for Jamie, and one of the more fun hurdles to overcome. Anyway… back to the party planning… hope to see you on Saturday!!! We’ll all be there… waiting for you! For now... more pics!

Jamie (as Charlie Chaplin), John Michael (as himself)

Jamie making the ugly-sad face at her reunion tour to Houston last week:

Jamie looking fierce for her birthday dinner..

See you Saturday!

Walking into Houston and more

Yesterday, Jamie, mom and I went back to St. Joseph Hospital in Houston, where we lived from December to the beginning of May. This was our first visit back to the hospital since we left to come to outpatient rehab at St. David’s in Austin. At the time, Jamie was more or less bedridden. She was able to get in her wheelchair with great effort, and she really couldn’t sit up straight for longer than a few minutes without getting sore or winded. She still had wounds that hadn’t closed, some MRSA on her right knee, and was still in isolation (meaning everyone needed to wear plastic suits and facemasks while in contact with her… well, we were supposed to…) It’s been a few months since that time, and, especially to the folks that hadn’t seen Jamie in months, everything has changed for Jamie. She left in a wheelchair and, yesterday, she walked on her own back into the hospital. She left with open wounds, and returned with barely a bandage on her. In May, Jamie had a few tufts of hair and nothing more, now, she has a cute little mini-fro. We’d worked to pass the Jamie Schanbaum Act (requiring incoming freshman and transfer students at all Texas colleges to prove they’ve been immunized from meningococcal disease) and attended a signing ceremony with Governor Perry. Jamie’s hung out with Ghostland Observatory, her favorite band, not once, not twice, but a few times… even getting an impromptu acoustic set in St. David’s by Aaron Behrens, Ghostland’s lead singers. She was on stage at ACL on the day before her 21st birthday. Jamie has reenrolled in UT-Austin and is back attending classes… you know what? You get the point. A lot has changed for Jamie and her fan club since we left Houston in May. The only thing that didn’t change? The weather in Houston: Still sucks.

So, the three of us woke up at the crack of dawn and drove to Houston yesterday to see all of our old friends. Ostensibly, we were there to see Dr. Smith, Jamie’s plastic surgeon who performed the skin graft surgeries for Jamie. We were really there to say hi and show off. Oh, and Uncle Dean came to film some interviews with Jamie’s team of medical folks. We didn’t get everyone on film that we wanted, but we’re planning on coming back to Houston to get the rest of the interviews. Anyway, there were a lot of tears shed by Jamie, mom and all the ladies we saw at St. Joe’s… not being sexist here, it’s just that I, Dr. Lin, Dr. Thai, Dr. Smith, Michael, Anthony, Cody, Luke and the other guys are really tough… and cry on the inside. Everyone was blown away by Jamie’s luxurious locks of hair and how well her skin has healed. The biggest treat was seeing Jamie stand - remember, no one in Houston had seen her stand before…. In fact, no one had seen her stand from November 13, 2008 to May something. Jamie took pride in walking up and down the halls of the hospital, and when she wasn’t walking, we pushed her around on her walker, which has wheels. Jamie probably gave 40 hugs while she was there… everyone was so happy to see her. It was like old times. Dr. Lin was the cutest. Apparently, he had spent the week before our arrival spoiling our surprise visit… though I think mom forgot to tell him it was a surprise. Anyway, there are a bunch of pictures at the bottom of the post, so check them out. Thank you to all of our friends in Houston for taking such good care of our Jamie while she was in your… care. Also, thanks for letting us barge in and own St. Joe’s for another day. It felt good to be back.

On another note, Jamie’s spoke at the Blanco United Methodist Church last weekend and rocked it. She wrote about this already, and no, I wasn’t in attendance, but I wanted to give some impressions that I’ve soaked in from everyone else. Jamie did amazing… I don’t think Jamie wrote that, but she did. Uncle Dean produced a video that played to the congregation prior to her walking/speaking on stage. This was the first time anyone had seen this video and it was very good… very intense, as most videos of Jamie tend to be. [Something I’ve said several times in the past couple of days is, “I can’t believe how normal we thought this was… this was pretty intense.” … we looked over some old pictures of Jamie’s legs prior to her surgeries… it was … graphic]. This was her first time to address a crowd of strangers and talk to them about her story. According to all accounts of the story, Jamie knocked it out of the park! She got a standing ovation from the congregation and then there was a reception in her honor afterwards, as well.

Finally, we’re getting close to our first big fundraising event! I’ll have a separate post for this, with all of the details and whatnot, but it’s looking to be a rousing success! It will be held on November 7, from 12p to 6p (duh), at Liar’s Den (2710 McKinney Ave, Dallas, TX 75204). We’ve received commitments for a lot of big time auction items, some of which I’d like to be on the winning end of (for example, we’ll have some amazing tickets to the Mavericks, Stars and Byron Nelson). We’ll also be having beer pong and flip cup tournaments, with the tourney winners getting some actual prizes that they’ll want to compete for. More on this soon, but just mark this on your calendars and spread the word!!

OH! And, be sure to check out this amazing post, written in the Texas Jewish Post this past week and then, mom wrote a piece that was published today in the Dallas Morning News' mom's blog... you know, because she's a mom. Wow, that's a lot of links in one post... now for some more pictures!

Jamie and part of the Hyperbaric team:
Jamie and Mom hugging Allison and Michael:

Jamie and Dr. Lin:
Jamie and Waddell:
Jamie and Luke:
That's all for now!!

Thanks Blanco

Hello again! It’s Jamie with another blog post. I’m writing to you now, to report my trip that I had when I visited the Blanco United Methodist Church this past Sunday. I went to Blanco to give my first speech about myself and how my life is going today. When I arrived my Papa Gene and Aunt Betty greeted me. When we walked in I met Ken and Margo who were running congregation. The Sunday ceremony ran like any other ceremony and about halfway I took up about fifteen minutes to speak. I didn’t however, prepare a speech, but at the same time, I wasn’t nervous. I don’t know why I wasn’t nervous; after all it was my first speech. I guess I just knew that everything was going to go smoothly. So the halfway marker came up, and Ken introduced me with a video, that my uncle Dean made, and then I got up in front of everyone to tell my story. Let me add, that it was my fourth day or so, to be walking on my own without a walker. So I stood up and walked by myself up to the front. I definitely feel as if I did touch those that were listening, and I felt a whole great deal of satisfaction after I gave my speech, as if this is my new calling. Standing in front of a microphone was pretty easy, and I did love it. People even did come up to me and told me that I had good public speaking skills and that I spoke very well in front of everybody. It was definitely another good day in my life, and I do know that there will be more speeches in my future.

10/6 - Jamie's Birthday and ACL, wrap-up

Happy Birthday to Jamie! Jamie turned 21 on Sunday, and she really started her 21st year with a bang! I guess it would be more accurate to say she ended her 20th year with a bang, because, as promised by the boys from Ghostland Observatory – Aaron and Thomas – Jamie was dancing on stage at Austin City Limits (ACL) with Ghostland. OK, so she wasn’t, like, front and center, on the stage, but she was only a little to the side, where the band’s family hangs out. It was an amazing show!! Me, Jamie, Roni, mom, Becca and Cris got to go backstage, then on stage, at the AMD stage on Saturday night. That was the second largest stage at ACL, after the Livestrong stage, and the amount of people watching Ghostland blew me away. However, the real surprise came at the end of the show… up until the finale, it was your usual Ghostland Observatory concert (meaning, it was an awesome, frenetic, non-stop electronic rock, light show…), but, unbeknownst to the crowd, the University of Texas Marching Band was sitting backstage, right next to Jamie and her crew. When Ghostland started one of my favorite songs – And The Band Marches On – the UT band assembled on the stage and started to rock along with Thomas’ beats and Aaron’s vocals. It was pretty great and the crowd was really into it. Afterwards, Jamie got some quality time with Aaron and Thomas, and then said so long. We’ll see them again in Dallas on Halloween. All in all, Jamie had a fantastic birthday weekend. We are so happy we got to share it with so many of Jamie’s friends… frankly, we’re just happy that Jamie is still with us, enjoying life.

You may have wondered how in the world Jamie could be getting around at ACL. Ordinarily, Austin City Limits is very difficult to traverse. There are thousands upon thousands of people, trying to get from stage to stage to see their favorite performers (I think there were a total of eight stages), and everyone traverses the same routes, more or less, across Zilker Park. Well, ordinarily, it would be tough for Jamie to see her favorite performers, and it was made even worse by the much-complained-about rainstorm that hit ACL this weekend. So, it was muddy. Very muddy. So, presented with all of these challenges, how did Jamie fare? Pretty well! Jamie drove around the park on a motorized scooter provided to her by a friend of Jamie’s and Cris’ family, Tommie. This scooter was awesome. Jamie got through the crowds and the mud with ease…. And if that doesn’t sound awesome enough, Jamie was able to take advantage of the “special access” section at each of the stages. These sections were immediately in front of the crowds, in a sectioned-off area that gave Jamie access to some of her favorite acts. She’d have to tell you more about who she was able to see. I’m not cool anymore, so I wouldn’t be able to tell you half of their names. I mean, she saw Grizzly Bear and Michael Fonti (I think that’s how it spelled)

Anyway, that’s all for now. Mom and I are off to Brownsville for a few days to retrieve some of her old belongings from the Valley that we haven’t been able to retrieve since November. See you in a few days!

9/30 - Jamie is driving; New hand prosthetic company; ACL; Jamie's Birthday!

I can’t believe that its almost October. So much to do in the coming months.

First, we’re planning two benefits for Jamie in the next few months. The first one will be on November 7th at Liar’s Den, on McKinney Ave in Dallas. It’ll be during the day and a more casual affair than the one in February in Austin. Think kegs of beer, some fun music and general carousing. There will be a silent auction, beer pong/flip cup… all-in-all, it’ll be a wonderful time. $20 suggested donation, but I’ll have more instructions on the buy-ins for the competition in the near future. The other, bigger event (more of a gala) will be on February 27th at St. Michael’s in Austin. Think emcee, sport coats and good food.

So, onto the updates you’re looking for... but before that, a magic trick from Jamie:

... Nice...

1) Jamie’s back on the road! Bob, Jamie’s OT, got her back into a car for the first time since November 2008. Jamie and Bob drove from St. David’s to our old house on 48 1/2 street to the Hancock Center parking lot, and back to our current house in Austin. For those of you not familiar with Austin, that’s about 2 miles, total. She drove using hand pedals/brakes that are located next to the steering wheel. According to Bob, it wasn’t too hard for her to drive. This was a week or so ago, and Jamie hasn’t driven since, but it’s good to know that Jamie can still drive well… or as well as she could drive before… which really wasn’t that well, but you get the point. We’ve been discussing what kind of car to get Jamie when she’s fully able to drive again. Something economical, with good trunk space for the assistive technology she’ll be reliant on. I’m not good with cars or else I would start listing… I remember that the Honda Element was one of the cars discussed, but that’s about all I can think of for now. Here's a video (with bad sound) of everyone talking about Jamie driving... Sake is there too:

2) One of the biggest developments in the last few weeks is our new relationship with Advanced Arm Dynamics. We were introduced to Advanced Arm Dynamics (AAD) through one of our new doctors, Dr. Sharma. Dr. Sharma is a hand doctor, like Dr. Boutros. (Interesting note, Dr. Sharma was partnered with the plastic surgeon who, on December 6, recommended that we amputate Jamie’s arms at the wrist and her legs above or at the knee… he isn’t partnered with that doctor anymore). Dr. Sharma is wonderful and is happy with the work performed by Dr. Boutros. He isn’t planning on too many more surgical procedures on Jamie, if any, in the future. OK, there will be some, but nothing too extensive. Also, we’re glad to be with him because he is so close and has this good relationship with AAD. So, I missed all of the early appointments with Dr. Sharma, so I can’t tell you too much about what went on there, but at one of those meetings, he recommended that we look at AAD… then he set up a meeting with one of AAD’s reps, who was driving down from Dallas. Well, we were BLOWN AWAY by the things we were shown by Bernie, the rep for AAD. Bernie, as you can tell in the videos, is an amputee; he became an amputee after being a victim of a random drive-by shooting. His hand was messed up badly… he showed us pictures of it. Here's some video from that meeting:


As you’ll see on the video, the technology that AAD is developing is amazing. AAD is the only company in the country (world?) that works exclusively on upper extremity prosthetics , and they have the results to prove it. The demo model that he showed to me, mom, Jamie and two other amputees that were in the same meeting is representative of the kind of prosthetic Jamie will be outfitted with. The prosthetic will consist of a glove or a socket that Jamie’s hand will fit into. On the inside of the glove will be electronic sensors. These sensors will sense when Jamie’s arm/hand muscles move and will move individual fingers according to those motions. There are two sensors per finger – one contracts the finger, the other releases it. It is pretty damn amazing. Because Jamie’s hands aren’t uniformly shaped, there may be some fingers that this doesn’t apply to (Note: last Monday, at the AAD mothership in Irving, they told Jamie exactly that. So, on some of her fingers, she will have the sensors/individual fingers and then, on the fingers were there is less available bone, there is an extremely new technology that is in place that would require some pins to be inserted where the finger would be, and then a prosthetic is put on that finger, and then you rely on electronic sensors to move the finger… as you can see, I barely know what is going on with this yet,… but I will…. Sometime soon. (Btw, that picture is from Jamie's PTOT session following our meeting with Bernie.... he came to St. David's and talked with Bob and Kerry about what they could offer for Jamie. Getting advice from our trainers has proven invaluable, because they know the right questions to ask and they can tell help nudge us in the right direction).

3) On Saturday, we will all be going to Austin City Limits (along with the rest of civilized society, apparently), but we’ll be going in style! (for a few reasons) First, Aaron Behrens, the lead singer in Ghostland Observatory that came to visit Jamie in the hospital at St. Davids, offered to give Jamie the same side-stage treatment that we received in July at the New Braunsfels show. Aaron and Thomas, the other member of the band who also visited, have been so great to Jamie… really, some of the best moments we have had following Jamie’s illness have been brought by these two guys (and by Cater and Becky, who really connected us with the Ghostland boys). So, we’ll also be cruising in style because Jamie will be driving a scooter that was originally gifted to us by Tommie Leon, a friend of Jamie’s from high school. That will be pretty cool. Also joining us backstage will be Roni, because she was given all-access passes because the group behind ACL selected Roni’s T-Shrit design as one of the official ACL shirts this year!!! Very exciting news, and very cool that she got backstage passes for her work. Good job Roni!

4) It is Jamie’s 21st birthday on Sunday! We are so grateful that Jamie is still around to celebrate this landmark occasion. It was almost a year ago that we very nearly lost her. Things could have been much worse for her and for us, so considering all of the things that didn’t happen to Jamie, I’m very happy. We love her so much and she continues to make such amazing progress. :)

Finally, we had a great weekend in Dallas to celebrate Yom Kippur (the Jewish day of atonement) with the family. It was Jamie’s first road trip since she, Michelle and I drove from Houston to Austin in May. It was great to see everyone. Jamie visited Shelton, her old school, and some of her old friends, including the Applebaums. There were some people that Jamie wasn’t able to visit (Prescott’s, we’re looking at you!) but Jamie is planning on several more trips in the near future, with Halloween looking to be the next trip. Thanks for all of your support and we’ll talk to you soon!

9/25 - Tailgating with the Happy Hook-ers

Last week, most of the Silva family – that’s mom’s maiden name, of course – went to tailgate together before the Texas vs. Texas Tech football game with our tailgating group, The Happy Hook-ers. Cute name, right? Mom has been tailgating with these guys for a while now, and I’ve only joined up as of this year. They’re a big group of around 80 people (without guests), but that number was wildly inflated for the Tech game. So, the two founding members of the Hookers – Kim and Diane– approached mom with an idea: they wanted to donate the proceeds from the Texas Tech tailgate to Jamie, and they’d also set up some donation buckets at the tailgate as well. Then, Orlando, the owner of Taco Shack, got in on the action and offered to have some donation buckets stationed at the local Taco Shacks here in town. (There are a lot of Taco Shacks, and, in all seriousness, they are awesome… maybe the best in Austin and DEFINITELY the best place to get good tacos quickly)… Anyway, so, they set up the donation bins for Jamie, and I was expecting some money, sure, but not what we ended up getting… we were absolutely blown away by the generosity of the Happy Hookers and their guests.

Jamie had a good time at the tailgate too. This, I think, was the first major public event that Jamie had attended with her prosthetics on and while she was walking around. She didn’t have her wheelchair at all. Definitely the first time for that! What’s neat was that once the tailgate got going, she lost some inhibitions and she started to walk a few steps here or there without support from the walker or from anyone! That was amazing to see. And it was seen by a lot of her Silva brethren – Nicole (nee Silva) and Stephen Lahti; Zeke and Marc Silva (they’re brothers, FYI); Cindy, Joe and Chris Martinez; Letty and Ramon Fernandez (mom’s/our cousins), and we, the Schanbaums… so, when you think about it, I guess there weren’t too many “Silvas” there… but still it was a good time. And we can't forget about Jamie's friends that showed up, like Molly and Michelle and Jeff... also some of my friends showed up too, which is nice... thanks.

There was also a reporter from ABC there… I think he may have been a journalism student from UT who was working with ABC… I don’t remember, you should ask mom… but Jamie interviewed and her story was on the news on Sunday morning… mom says that it is on the internet, but I can’t seem to find it anywhere. When it pops up, I’ll post it. Anyway, that’s all for now… gotta get some stuff done before I leave for Dallas – time to go to the fair and celebrate Yom Kippur with the family in Dallas!

It's Jamie

Hey everyone! Jamie - checking in to keep you posted. Last weekend I had the pleasure of meeting Rayna DuBose. Rayna is another survivor of meningococcal meningitis who lost her legs below the knee and up to her mid forearm. I met Rayna and was amazed at how well she was able to move around. Let me add that she was wearing high-wedged heels with her prosthetic legs! We met because she was giving a speech in San Marcus at Texas State. I didn’t know what to except, but maybe an auditorium? But instead they had a huge room with round tables with about 2-300 people, who all were fed food. Rayna was a huge inspiration. She had an amazing way to capture the audience’s attention. They were all laughing and were all moved by her story. She was such a huge inspiration to me, and showed me that this is something that I could do. I met so many people and had a great time at Texas State. Who knows what the future holds for me.
The other day in PT/OT Bob took me out driving! Yeah, that’s right! Bob and I hit the road. We started off in the Hancock center, first just getting used to driving with my hands. But once I got used to it, we went through the Hyde Park neighborhood. Not quite like old times, but it will be later down the road. No pun intended. On another note, in my last PT/OT session, we met a prosthetist that specializes in hands. He brought down this new hand that is so new, that there is no news press on it yet. It was basically the opening of the iphone for hands. They’re luckily located in Irving, Texas. I say luckily because they are literally the only ones with this prosthetic. We’re having our evaluation two Mondays from now, and I think that I might get them in maybe two months from now. I’m so excited!!
I know it might be a little late but it was recently my mom’s birthday on September 4th, and I just wanted to mention how grateful I am to have her in my life. Life can get pretty challenging, but this year was especially difficult on everyone. But my mom was there for me, just as much as the sun was there for earth. And I am, needless to say, thankful for what she has done for me. And I love YOU mom!

This is Jamie, checking out!

9/10 - Videos and pictures from Jamie's past week!


Hi everyone! It's been a little while since I've posted (why do I feel like that is my customary introduction, now), but to make up for it, I'm going to post some pics and videos... I figure that everyone will like this more than reading, anyway. (For those of you reading on facebook, now would be a good time to click the link I pasted above so you can see the videos/pics). So, without further ado:

This is Jamie riding a tricycle yesterday. Mom is taking the video and that's Bob, her OT helping her along. Pretty neat stuff, huh!

Here's a video that everyone on facebook liked from last week. This is Jamie walking without supporting herself on the parallel bars:

I intended on posting some more videos today (like of her doing leg presses or of Jamie doing some more balancing exercises) but DAMN, these videos take forever to upload and now Jamie's PT session is over... so tomorrow, I'll post some more... promise :)

september 1, 2009-can't believe its september

Hey viewers, this is Jamie again with another blog post on what has been going on recently. In PT/OT I have been making huge progress! I have gotten to the point where I can walk with one hand on the parallel bars, and onto to walking with only placing my hands in someone else’s in front of me! With no walker or anything. Kerry, my PT, and I have been discussing how I should move onto a 4-wheeled walker. It’s the walker that looks like an upside down “y,” and has a little basket with a seat on top of it. With this 4-wheeled walker, it will completely eliminate the wheelchair. Thank goodness. But besides that, I have become mobile while standing, with Bob (my OT), by bending, turning, shifting weight, reaching, grabbing, etc. It is really exciting to see what new things I can do each day.
On Sunday the family and I went to Fonda San Miguel, to have a nice Mexican brunch on the day of wicked, the musical(which was awesome). I bring this up because I went in with no wheelchair. I even walked around the buffet line. My family was really proud of me…I could tell.
The other week I also revisited my high school, St. Michaels. It was truly amazing to see some of my former teachers, especially Mrs. Prior! I have always loved her and her spirit, and reuniting for only a minute’s worth, really did highlight my week. At St. Michael’s we discussed the gala that would take place in November that would be in honor of my name. I am really excited for that to happen. This event will also be a whole year after being admitted to the hospital. Crazy how much can happen in a year.

Alright viewers, I’ll keep you posted on what happens next.
Tah tah

8/25 - Governor Perry signs the Jamie Schanbaum Act into law

Welcome to the 100th Post on the Jamie Blog!!! Thank you all for following Jamie's (and our) story over these past few months. We are lucky to have been joined on this journey by all of our friends and family, both new and old. We've been through a lot and there's a long road ahead of us, so I hope you all don't go anywhere!

Now that that's said, there are many things that we'll need to cover in the next few posts (Jamie's new prosthetic legs; creating The Jamie Group, Inc. and our application for 501(c)(3) status; fundraising events in Austin (11/12) and in Dallas (11/7); Jamie getting back into school; the Happy Hookers tailgaters donating the proceeds from the Texas Tech game to Jamie; Jamie generally being awesome...) and I'm happy to say that Jamie will be helping me write blog posts in the future. However, this post is all about our latest trip to the state capitol for the (honorary) signing of the Jamie Schanbaum Act by Governor Rick Perry.

At 4:45, Gov. Perry came into his public reception room, where Jamie, me, KC, Roni, mom and Papa Gene were waiting. Before going forward, I should list some of the other attendees that helped make the law a reality, including: (1) Maureen Moore, who, along with Anna Dragsbaeck are part of the Houston Immunization Group that helped and pushed us to get this bill passed. Sometimes, I feel like Anna/Maureen and Mom/me are in a competition to see who can thank the other ones the most. (2) Joan Vasbinder, who also testified before the higher education committee along with mom, me and Anna Dragsbaeck; she lost her son to meningitis three years ago. (3) Sen. Wendy Davis, who authored Senate Bill 819, which is the original version of the law before it stalled in the house before being attached to a related house bill. (4) Louie Sanchez, who will soon be Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr.'s chief of staff. Sen. Lucio is the man who helped us get in touch with Sen. Davis in the first place; mom knows him from back in Brownsville where she was queen. Louie was there on behalf of the Senator, who wasn't able to attend, but he's been so helpful on his own that we'd have wanted him in the picture anyway. (5) Rep. Donna Howard: She sponsored SB 819 in the house, where it unfortunately stalled and nearly died due to politics related to the voter ID laws, until...(6) Rep. Patrick Rose: who, along with being a former law school classmate of mine, is the Representative that amended one of his similarly themed bills to include the meningitis immunization legislation... and THAT is how a law is made!

So, anyway, Rick Perry came into the reception room to meet all the people who helped make this bill a reality, but if you ask me, he came to talk to Jamie. He probably talked with us for 10 minutes but it simultaneously felt like a brief moment and an eternity. He mentioned that he saw Jamie's recent story in the Daily Texan (which I CAN'T believe I've failed to mention so far...). Jamie commented on the Governor's tie, which was red with flying elephants on it. He said he thought it looked pretty cool. We agreed. Then, after the signing was over and we all took pictures and smiled for the KEYE cameras that were there (more on that below), he talked to Jamie some more, this time on a more serious note: he talked about the importance of giving back to your community. Jamie told him that she wanted to help people overcome their disabilities... thanks to people like Bob and Kerri, she feels strongly that helping people is in her future... Gov. Perry focused on this when he talked with us, and he reminded us that he didn't always know he wanted to get into politics, but he found his calling: giving back to the community that gave so much to him... so here he is. Anyway, like we said, a very, very wonderful day.

Finally, its definitely worth noting that mom was able to convince the folks at the capitol to allow the KEYE cameras to film the signing... then mom and Jamie had another interview, this time on a much happier note than before. Click HERE to see the video and article on the KEYE website.

Thank you to everyone who helped make the Jamie Schanbaum Act a law in Texas. We're glad that so many people will be able to benefit from our situation. Thanks again to everyone who has followed our story from Seton to St. Joseph to St. David's to the capitol. We love you all.