When I watched the sunrise during my morning jog, I realized something. A smile came to my face because I realized that I'm alive, healthy and it has officially been ten years since my near fatal car accident.
Later that evening I shared my story in the auditorium, and the message I focused on dealt with the subject of motivation and goal setting. I stressed that we all have our own experiences in life that have made us who we are.
In attendance at the French Arrival Ceremony there were over 100 members of the military from every branch, every state and every background. They represented to the fullest degree with every movement being in perfect coordination.
As a former ICU patient, I experienced this first hand by observing the love and support from my parents, family, friends, and medical team. In my darkest moments in the hospital, they were there to help guide me through, and they did.
After several attempts to get me to saw a few syllables, one lucky day it just happened out of nowhere. My respiratory therapist attached a speaking valve, and I tried to sound out a few words and all of a sudden I began talking.
More often than not, we see the hardship and downfall of the human spirit across our news feeds and television stations. But, what about the triumph of the human spirit? The compassion? The will to do what we can to make the world a better place?
While thousands of people have responded to the recent emergency call for blood and platelet donations from the American Red Cross, right now blood products are being distributed to area hospitals almost as quickly as donations are coming in.
I am 27 years old, and I am the National Volunteer Spokesperson for the American Red Cross. But nine years ago on July 6, 2004, I was a blood recipient after being involved in a near fatal car accident that caused catastrophic injuries.
In the summer of 2004 I remember sitting on my hospital bed and trying my best to be positive in such a tragic situation, but it wasn't easy. Years later I achieved one of my goals and competed in the Hawaii Ironman.
I grew up watching this incredible sport on television every year, and was always fascinated by the athletes who participated. And as the Ironman celebrated 35 years this week, I reflected back on my very first Ironman in 2007.
When Hurricane Sandy was approaching the eastern seaboard of the United States, the American Red Cross was already making the preparations to respond to the communities that were in the path of the devastating storm.