Everything seemed to be going smoothly until life decided to test my ability to overcome adversity. In February of 1995, my father was diagnosed with lung cancer. Eight months later, I became ill and was hospitalized. At the age of 24, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I gave in to the fear of an uncertain future and dropped out of college. (I would go on to have exacerbations (flare-ups) of the Multiple Sclerosis throughout the years).

After years of enduring the challenges of Multiple Sclerosis and living with the consequences of poor choices of relationships, I made the decision in the summer of 2014 to change my life. I had grown tired of feeling like that 17-year-old high school dropout, the 24-year-old victim of Multiple Sclerosis, and the 29-year-old abused wife. As a first-generation college student, I graduated from Parkland College, Champaign, IL in 2016, a little over 20 years after dropping out of college. I am now working toward my Bachelor’s Degree in General Studies through Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL.  

As a woman that once felt like I was at the mercy of life and circumstances, I believe that providing women with avenues of empowerment through education is the one thing that can turn their life around. Finding the strength to take control and change your life may be the hardest part of the journey, but once you do, the path becomes clearer and finding your purpose becomes your mission. For every mistake that we make in life, there comes a moment of redemption. For every failure that we experience, there comes a second chance.  And for every difficult lesson that we’re forced to endure, there comes  “Blessons” … if you just look for them.