On A More Personal Note.
I am a firm believer that with the understanding of "the why" comes a greater appreciation. I share my story with you with the hope that you can see the passion and commitment behind the Empowered Through Health organization and the people it supports.
I can’t tell you the exact reason that morning in April 2013 that my husband and I decided to take the plunge and make Empowered Through Health come to life. At that time, Empowered Through Health did not have a name, but it had everything else a dream has. It had a special place in our conversations throughout the years, it was exciting, it had great purpose, but it also held the fear of the unknown, the fear of failure and the knowledge of the difficulties we may encounter, and so it remained a dream as dreams sometimes do.
I will remember that day for so many reasons, but I choose to remember it as the day Empowered Through Health suddenly became our mission. As unexpected tragedies in life can sometimes do, that day unarguably made us realize the importance of each and every day. Life is short and our dream would no longer remain a dream. Things had been put in perspective and that was something we hoped to not lose sight of.
Looking back now, I appreciate all the little things that helped us stay the course in making this dream a reality. A chance viewing of a documentary about Drew Struzan, who refused to have a back-up plan, because if he had he would used it when things got rough. But he didn’t, and yes he certainly struggled, had hard times, but ultimately his passion and dedication persevered.
The two women with whom I share the honor of sitting with on the board of Empowered Through Health, couldn’t be any more inspiring. They are strong. They are smart. They are determined and motivated to make Empowered Through Health succeed, because they understand and can personally relate to the mission behind it. I am a better person for knowing them and the impact they will have on Empowered Through Health is everlasting.
My husband, the one that put those words out in the universe “Let’s just do it”, has been a tremendous support and the backbone for Empowered Through Health. When the donated land for our Gardening Program was temporarily sidelined, he built 5 raised vegetable beds in our yard to help house the plants the children at the elementary school planted. He converted a trailer into a traveling farmstand so that we could create opportunities for people of different abilities to self-advocate and also for the community to be involved and make connections they may not have before.
As for myself, I have the deepest motivation and incredible inspiration; his name is Cole. Cole is my nine year old son, who just happens to have Down syndrome. My saying Cole has changed my world, made me a better person and taught me to see things differently is an understatement to the impact he has had on my life. Without Cole I don’t know if I would have the same appreciation for the little things in life, the things that are often taken for granted, but somehow in the end being the most important.
It has become a mission for us to help people understand that someone who is differently-abled is a person first and foremost. Their ability does not define them, but it does play a unique role in the wonderful person that they are. If you take a second; imagine a world where people can be themselves and not only be accepted for who they are, but appreciated and celebrated. What an incredible world to live in.
And for the record; Empowered Through Health has no back-up plan.