Sunday, May 5, 2019

9th Annual Relay for Rachael wrap up!

People often ask how do you do it? How do you keep going everyday?

I do it because thankfully I have the support that allows me to. For me there was never another option, I do it because I am here and I am going to do the best I can. I do it because I don’t know any other way. I do it because I want to gain back as much movement as possible. To me it is a silly question because I will never give up. I am running this marathon called “journey back from paralysis” to the very end.

My biggest obstacle is finding caregivers and trainers who can keep up with me! I work hard everyday and I need the help of many to get me through my days. My relay/marathon annual fundraiser helps me pay everyone who helps me daily. Currently I employ 5 caregivers and 4 trainers! It really is a full time job advocating for myself and finding the help I need daily to become stronger. I understand why people give up, it is really hard work and cost a lot of money. By the end of the day I am exhausted and I am constantly worried about finances. The relay for Rachael eases the financial stress and motivates me to KEEP PUTTING ONE FOOT IN FRONT OF THE OTHER EVERYDAY. Thank you for BEing my light.


Friday Night Pasta Dinner

These people work behind the scenes
and help me get my movement daily!
Thank You!




My Marathoners!



Thank You to the Treadmill
for always hooking up my winning team with new shoes!
Congratulations Team Nepenthe!
(even though Kodiak beat all the teams!)

Kendra ran her first marathon!

Kodiak finally got a new pair of shoes
after wearing these for three marathons!
Aengus after marathon number 8!

The world needs more people like this girl,
Thank You Daniella  for the best care!

After race BBQ! Thanks runners!



Saturday, February 16, 2019

9th annual relay for Rachael

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

I wouldn’t be where I am today without this annual fundraiser to help pay for my ongoing care and rehab. There are many in my situation who are not as fortunate and I am so thankful that I can get up and moving everyday.  Every year I get a little stronger and every year gets a little easier.

 This year I have 25 runners training hard and getting ready to hit Highway 1 on Sunday, April 28th.  I am forever grateful for their support and yours. Please go to Relay for Rachael for more information on how to donate. 




Thursday, November 1, 2018

8 year Crashiversary

I’ve decided I have a PhD in Spinal Cord Injury, 8 years down, oh how time flies. I learn more and more every day about this crazy life, 8 years is nothing. I take the anniversary of my injury as a chance to reflect on where I was then and how far i’ve come. A day doesn’t go by where I don’t remind myself how lucky I am to have a roof over my head, food on the table and the incredible support of so many.

At Point Lobos photographing with my iPhone. 

My health is my life and my life is my health and that is only possible because of the help I receive from others.  Our health mentally and physically are both so important when trying to achieve a happy and fulfilling life. This made easier by getting the proper sleep, nutrition and exercise. I feel our general health is greatly under valued.

At times I feel selfish, every day I have to think about me, be my own health care advocate. How am I going to get up in the morning, fed, transported around and get the help I need to get through my day? In part because of this I am always trying to find ways to give back and to help others.

I was reminded of this again in August after a friend passed away suddenly at the age of 32. Everything he did was to help others, to make this world a better place. He was a bright light and once again I am reminded to be the light and to #livelikeWeston. He was part of my relay for Rachael crew and will be greatly missed, but never forgotten.



Every year I get stronger and life with a spinal cord injury gets a little easier, just last month I was finally able to turn over from my stomach to my back in the pool. I’ve been working on this for 8 years! Being able to breathe on my own in the pool is huge because now I can work towards independence in the water. I started competitive swimming at the age of 8, played water polo and swam on the swim team through high school, lifeguarded, taught swim lessons, coached swim team, surfed, wakeboarded. I am a waterdog and I can’t wait for the day when I don’t need any help in the pool, and I am so close! Never give up!



Don’t take any minute of your life for granted. Look at the big picture and don’t let the little things get you down. Go for walks, watch the sunset, spend time with friends and family, volunteer, make a difference in your community, hug, cry, laugh, love, make art, be kind. Life is short.

There’s a lot that can get you down, this world can be a brutal place and I know it is hard to stay positive, I work on it every day. But this world is a beautiful place too, yin and yang, black and white, shadow and light, birth and death.

“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don't just give up.”
-Stephen Hawking




Monday, May 7, 2018

8th Annual Relay wrap-up!

As the dust settles from this year‘s Relay For Rachael I am reminded that I am not alone on this journey and that I couldn’t do it without the support of many... every year we get stronger and it is truly an amazing thing. 





Shelby Hawthorne and Kodiak Greenwood both ran the full marathon while my relay teams battled it out on the highway. Team LaLa Land came in 1st out of my 6 teams, upsetting the Big Sur teams, and came in 3rd overall out of 112 teams!  I love seeing everybody come together for such a fun and rewarding event and I’m so proud of my runners who hit Highway 1 in support of me. I can’t say thank you enough!


 



This year we raised a record amount of money, from over 250 donors, to help with my ongoing caregiving and physical therapy costs. I can’t put into words what this means to me and how this helps me get through my days. My progress is slow but it is progress and I am up to the challenge. Thank you for BEing my light.




Thank you to The Treadmill for hooking up the winning team with free shoes and for hosting such a “Fun Run” on March 25th in preparation for the marathon.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Staying Healthy


As the 8th annual Relay for Rachael approaches I am reminded how lucky I am for the support of my amazing friends, family and community.  Year after year my runners continue to train and raise money and I continue to get the help I need to gain strength and stay healthy both mentally and physically.  I am knocking on wood as I write this but I have not been sick in over 5 years, I am gentle to my body because I know it needs strength to heal. I try and eat healthy, I rarely drink alcohol anymore and if I do it is a glass of red wine, I get my rest by staying on a consistent sleep schedule (which includes having to wake up from 3-3:30AM every morning to switch from my left to right side) and most importantly I keep my body moving.  My movement is possible because I have people who believe in me and who allow me to continue on my journey. I can’t imagine my life without this support and I am forever grateful.  Once again my runners hit highway 1 on Sunday, April 29th in part of the Big Sur Marathon to run their fastest and raise money for my recovery, to inspire me and others and to enjoy one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. Donations can be made at Relay for Rachael. Thank you and Be the Light.

Working with Domini Anne at Mindful Movement in Carmel.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

7 year crashiversary

Seven years...seven years!

In the traditional Chinese culture, seven represents the combination of Yin, Yang and Five Elements (Metal, Wood, Water, Fire and Earth). This combination is considered as “harmony” in the ideology of Confucianism. While in Chinese Taoism, it stands for Tao which has a close connection with kindness and beauty.

I look forward to harmony and a close connection with kindness and beauty in the upcoming year of my recovery. I am constantly trying to find the balance of kindness in my rehab. How far can I push my body and when do I just need to sit back and recover. Most of the time I just make up my rehab as I go, circling back around to the exercises that I have done in previous years and enjoying the differences in my strength and ability. To say that this process is slow is an understatement, this progress is painfully slow, but I am here and ready to face it and I am encouraged by my strength that continues to grow.



Hope, 35, Self Portrait, 2017



It is a full-time job keeping in good health. I understand why so many people in 
my situation end up in the hospital and some don't make it out. It's a constant battle to survive, not to mention the huge financial burden that weighs on me heavily. My number one focus is my health and it has to be that way because nothing terrifies me more than ending up back in the hospital.  It is easy to end up with pressure sores or other issues related to quadriplegia, it is hard to fight this battle and stay strong. It all starts with having proper care and people that understand. This summer I had three caregivers in the matter of two months give me their notice. It turned my world upside down and my entire focus had to go to finding new caregivers that could help get me through my days. Through this journey I have met so many amazing people, true angels that allow me to live.  It really is beautiful and humbling and gives me hope in humanity. There is nothing more selfless than being a caregiver and it frustrates me so much that as a society we don't put more emphasis on how important these people are. So if you see me out and about with a caregiver please thank them because they can never be thanked enough for what they do.

As lives go on, marriage, kids, travel, play ...I look for my path, a path I can take that will give me happiness knowing that my path will be very different from most. Without my art I would have a hard time moving forward. I still have my art and I thankful for that everyday. My 2018 calendars are available online and we have a new website for Gallery Exposed (links in sidebar). Currently we are exhibiting "See you, See me" a solo show with photographs by me up through December 31st, if you are in Carmel please stop by!




On the cover of Monterey County Women magazine.



It doesn't seem so long ago that I woke up at my house in Big Sur, ate breakfast, watered my garden, fed my animals, showered, packed up my Halloween costume and headed into Carmel. It was a Sunday so it was my day to open up the gallery. I remember this day like it was yesterday, my last day of independence. That evening I stopped by the Big Sur River Inn to watch game 4 of the World Series, San Francisco Giants vs Texas Rangers, Giants won 4-0. I changed into my costume and headed to Nepenthe for their annual Masquerade Ball.  We danced, we laughed, we enjoyed the beautiful night under the stars....Happy Halloween my friends.



 
My Awesome runners!  Running the Big Sur River run last Sunday even though it was cancelled, to start their training for this year's relay for Rachael! I love these guys! Thank you for all of your support! 

Friday, May 12, 2017

7th Relay Wrap up

Well, I am one lucky girl!

You did it again, we met the goal of $30,000 to help with my caregiving and physical therapy costs after a car accident that left me a quadriplegic in 2010. I can't believe how the energy behind this relay continues to grow and grow every year, it is inspiring and motivating. Thanks for believing in me and being my light.

My 19 runners hit highway 1 on Sunday, April 30th in part of the Big Sur Marathon, 3 marathoners and 16 relay runners. Sister/brother duo Shelby and Taylor Hawthorne ran their first marathon and Kodiak Greenwood ran his third consecutive Big Sur Marathon. Relay "Team Nepenthe" came in first, 5 minutes before "Team Carmel Valley", Lee Lightfoot was not happy about this!





The relay year after year motivates me to keep on going and gives me the funds to do it. I exercise 6 days/week, 4-6 hours a day and Sundays I make sure to stand and stretch a minimum of 1-2 hours.  I have to get the movement, I can't imagine not. I am so fortunate for the support that I have and continue to receive. Thank you! My progress is slow but happening! My core and arms continue to get stronger, I am starting to feel temperature change in my legs! About damn time...this growing nerves thing is tricky business.

I want to thank my runners, friends, family, communitby and everyone who donated and continues to donate year after year! As well as my friends at the Carmel Valley Athletic Club, Double Portion Supply, Loco Coco, Big Sur River Inn, The Treadmill and VEE R Creative Ventures for their support! The journey continues!


The crew celebrating at the finish line.