I have a special request for you and, perhaps, some others who you may choose to share this with.

I have entered a contest. The prizes are 4 handicap accessible vans given in the US & Canada. The Mobility Equipment Dealers (NMEDA) non-profit organization is operating the contest. Such a van would increase my mobility by leaps and bounds since I would be able to get into the van while still in my wheelchair. This would minimize ‘transfers’ into our car which include the risk of additional injury. I would also be able to go places without having someone at both ends who knows how to assemble/disassemble and load my wheelchair.

The contest is looking for local heroes, defined as people who volunteer, educate, advocate, achieve, and persevere despite challenges. I had to tell my story and how I’ve done just that in 400 words or less. My story (BELOW – KEEP READING!) and many others will be posted on the website where people can vote beginning May 1. The top 10% of vote getters will be considered.

Where you come in:
1) Please, go on that website and vote. People can vote May 1-31 – once each day. People with multiple e-mail accounts can vote using just one. You can get a bonus vote (2 votes/day) if you correctly answer a question on mobility. The website does have a good FAQ section and a mobility guide under ‘About.’ Voting early and often IS encouraged!
2) Please, share this with your friends, family, e-mail contacts, long-lost acquaintances – everyone – and encourage them to also vote.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
How does one continue with a normal life when all that was normal has been upended?

“You’re an ‘N’ of one,” my sons remind me. ‘N’ of one is scientist-speak that recognizes the boundless possibilities of being an individual who can shatter statistics.

It was supposed to be a fun day. They were all supposed to be fun after retirement. Instead, I was hit broadside by another car, paralyzed below the T-6 vertebra, and left with a dozen broken bones, internal bleeding, bruised organs, and collapsed lungs. After surgeries, life-support, and x-rays, I lay in the hospital, bruised, battered, unable to walk, and unsure.

Anger, blame, and what-ifs are easy; those do not serve. My faith remained. My loving husband and supportive children remained. I could think, talk, use my hands. I remembered family vacations, sailing, a rewarding career in education and service, the day I met my husband 46 years ago – much more than guaranteed. Love and support from friends poured in.

Life is now about ordinary things done in extraordinary ways. I’m adjusting to wheels instead of legs and living within parameters set by my wheelchair and arms-length. I’ve learned that obstacles create rewards. Kitchen counters, cupboards, and appliances feel like mountains – any accomplishment there is a celebration. I’ve learned to drive with hand-controls, re-qualifying for my license. Miracles abound daily. I’m learning that the only insurmountable limits are ones we place on ourselves. We are blessed to be a blessing. I owe much, not only to scores who touched my life, but also to those yet to meet.

I’m doing what I can. I’ve carried on my CarePage. With 899 followers, comments repeatedly state what an inspiration I am. I blog and educate about SCI. Within days, over 1300 followers read the first two entries. Unbeknownst to me, my story and typical closing look for your blessings was used in a symposium for thousands. I’ve conducted in-service training.

Being a survivor of a SCI has taught me that mobility and independence increase self-esteem, well-being, and quality of life. My dream is to continue to inspire, train, consult, and serve.

A recent e-mail validated my goals: “Your writing reminds me of the Psalms. There is always hope and a reason for giving thanks.” Doctors said there is a 10% chance of some recovery for my T6 injury. I am an N of one.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Check it out:
1) Voting website: (Voting section is still hidden)
2) My story:
3) Mark your calendar: May 1-31 – please, vote each day.
Thank you so much, Collene & Alan


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Carol Ketterer
    Apr 21, 2015 @ 15:39:51

    Just set my phone to remind me to vote everyday! If you win, I know you will continue to inspire us with your spirit and courage. Oh, the places you’ll go!



  2. kophoff
    Apr 21, 2015 @ 21:02:48

    Will do, Collene! What a privilege to be part of this fun contest. You are a winner no matter what and continue to bless others through this blog. You are indeed an ‘N’ of one!



  3. Cheryl Becker
    Apr 24, 2015 @ 12:14:06

    I for sure will be voting….and will get my family to as well! No one more deserving than you! And I agree with previous comments….YOU ARE A WINNER!



  4. Susan Oh
    Apr 24, 2015 @ 16:43:04

    will do, Collene! You are an amazing inspiration and witness to Christ.
    Your constant recognition of God’s grace through thankfulness reminded me of the recent book I read over Christmas by Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts.
    Thank you for sharing your story with the world.



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