By Katie Terry Corbridge
“Never underestimate the power of a few committed people to change the world.” – Mohandas Gandhi
Recently, I’ve heard numerous references to individuals who have endured something traumatic or life-altering and choose to hold their own funeral. To mourn their life, as they knew it.
I get it; I’ve been there!
August 2002 was the date of my “funeral.” Not in the negative, my life is over sense, but more that a new adventure had just begun. Having been an athlete my whole life, both in high school and college, the word “paralyzed” was not one I could fathom. But here it was. My new life had just begun and I was at a crossroads. I could either be a bitter, angry, pissed off person or accept this challenge and use it to become a better person. Almost immediately my athletic mentality kicked in. I was determined this was not going to define who I would become or what I would do with my life.
I realized I had not suffered a tragedy but a blessing! My life was wonderful and fulfilling! I knew I could make a difference and help others who were going through similar experiences. Not everyone was able to bounce back as easily as I did and if I could help others I knew it was something I would have to do.
We’ve all heard PAY IT FORWARD and almost all of us have been challenged to do that. Will you accept that challenge from me?
A few months ago, a young woman from a town outside Mexico City was visiting her sister in the United States. While playing with a group of friends, she was climbing a tree and suddenly a branch broke. She fell, broke her back, and was instantly paralyzed from the waist down. When I saw her story on the news, I wanted to help.
This young woman was in a foreign country with no insurance and a catastrophic injury. She needed a solid support network. The essentials she needed were in question- her rehab and a wheelchair- no one knew what would happen next for her. I wanted to give her a feeling of hope and knowledge that her life was NOT over. People that she had never met were rooting for her success and well-being.
I shared my story with her and in the end her tears changed to a smile. Those are the moments that help make all of my own challenges worth it.
Little by little, the dollars came in and the wheelchair was purchased. Most people have a desire to help but don’t know where to begin. I truly believe that in instances where we can make a difference, it’s our duty to stand up and do what we can.
Read how our community was able to come together and standup for this young woman.
There is a quote that I absolutely LOVE by Marian Wright Edelman. “We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.”
PAY IT FORWARD. No matter how big or small your help can make the difference in someone’s life.