After a short, yet long week (mid-term week!), it would be easy for me to sound dispassionate in writing my blog. I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes, after a tired day of class, homework, and wheeling myself around, sitting at a computer and thinking about what to write often loses its appeal.
I am, however, thrilled to tell you about tonight’s “hero.” You see, this is a friend of mine. Although I have never met her in person, nor have we spoken on the phone, Jennifer Bechard is a true friend to me. I “met” her on Twitter through our mutual friend, Andrea, and together they have been among my earliest supports in this cause.
I have communicated with a Jenn only a handful of times in the past few months, yet already I see her as my “sister” in this cause. I affectionately call her and Andrea my “Hydro Girls.”
I was stunned to read on her blog that, at the age of 22, Jenn has undergone 88 surgeries. It literally knocked the wind out of me! (I’ve had a mere 19 surgeries, and from head to toe, not just for my shunt.) She’s only one year younger than me.
Diagnosed with hydrocephalus at age 11, Jenn can’t keep a regular job or go to school, because she is constantly in the hospital with shunt complications. Being unable to find fulfillment in more conventional ways, Jenn has dedicated her life to serving others through volunteerism. She and her mom help organize the Detroit Hydrocephalus Walk, for which Jenn is the co-chair (with the Hydrocephalus Association). Jenn and her mom, Denise Bechard, together created “Just Believe,” a program that will help a family who is “dealing with the struggles of a chronic illness during the Christmas season.”
This dynamic duo has also teamed up for another brainchild, “Well Wishes,” where they collect cards to send to a child and brighten his or her day.
On top of all that (as if it were possible there could be more!), this amazing woman maintains her own blog, titled Just Believe, where she shares stories about people who are trying to make a difference, while keeping readers up-to-date on the latest happenings of her advocacy for the hydro community. She even wrote a beautiful post about me, and about “Holdin’ Out for a Hero,” way at the beginning of my efforts. (She believed in me, from early on!)
Today, Jenn was honored by Run Walk Ride Fundraising Council with their 2010 Cash, Sweat and Tears Award for her efforts to go “above and beyond in thon fundraising” (from a USA Today blog post).
There are just no words to describe her. Even if I knew her better, I’m sure I’d still be at a loss for words. (And that isn’t something that happens to me very often!)
Well, I’m off my soapbox for tonight. Please remember to pray for and support Haiti and Chile, two nations ravaged by earthquakes. Visit Impact Your World to help.
Hope, faith, and charity to all,