Well, as usual, never a dull moment around here! In fact, sometimes I cannot believe how fast the days go by. I am so happy to announce that the Southern Belle T-shirt fundraiser is OVER!! We started selling them in April; 2 ½ months later, we have sold over 1500 shirts!! Thanks to Southern Belle, Laura Cole, Brad Martin, and everyone who bought shirts and donated money, we have raised roughly $14,000! This is enough for one month and some change at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta!! Never in my wildest dreams did I expect this to be such a phenomenal success. I am so extremely grateful and blessed to have such wonderful support. One month is great, but just like they say about company- the more the merrier! This is a marathon, not a race. I will continue to advertise and fundraise until I can get all the help I need. The next fundraiser is only a week from tomorrow, July 9. A River Run, hosted by Sea Dawgs in Moss Point, will be take place between 8am-4pm. Tickets are $50, there´ll be live music and food all afternoon at Sea Dawgs, along with a few arts and crafts vendors. I will be at Sea Dawgs that afternoon for all the fun! For all information please visit Katy Blake River Run. If you are interested in volunteering in any way, there will be a meeting Tuesday, July 5, at Sea Dawgs at 6pm. For those on the Gulf Coast, please help us in spreading the word!
This past Tuesday, Laura and I had a brief interview with Fox 10 out of Mobile, AL. It was a live interview and we had no preparation whatsoever, but I think we did a pretty OK job (that has been the general consensus, anyway). If you have yet to see the story, you may do so here. Wednesday afternoon I had an amazing interview with USA Today. I have no idea what section or when it will be published, but just the fact that it´s USA Today is very exciting! I will be informed when it is posted and of course I will share the link here and on Facebook. I get so nervous doing these interviews, that probably sounds crazy, I mean I definitely know my story by heart, but there is so much to it that I don´t want to leave out anything when telling it. When speaking with the reporter from USA Today, at first she said she was worried about asking anything too personal. I had to laugh. I always say that when I became "conscious" two weeks after the accident and realized I had been getting bed baths, I was mortified. I have always been extremely modest. That went out the window real quick! I don´t know what personal space is anymore. Especially when it comes to talking about the accident, I have no issues with it; in fact, I find that when I talk about it, it helps me. When I was in the hospital, no one ever brought up the accident. I suppose they were waiting on me to say something first, and the first time I actually talked about it, I cried like a baby. I do not mind talking about it at all, but I hate to think of the exact moment when it happened. Thinking back to how scared I was,I truly believed I was going to drown. Each time after that it has gotten easier and easier. If my story can help inspire others or prevent another diving accident from happening, I will talk about it until I´m hoarse! The USA Today reporter even said I should write a book. So when you hear of "Rants and Ramblings of a Quadriplegic Diva"- that will be me! People always say I should be a motivational speaker, but I hate to talk in public... I would much rather just be a motivational writer.
While all the media coverage has been wonderful and truly helpful, it was never my intention to be famous. That is the farthest thing from my mind! I just want to get the help I need and believe that I deserve. If I become famous for anything, I wanted to be for being a walking quadriplegic. I want to be proof to others that miracles do happen. I want to provide strength for those who believe they are weak. I want others to see you can overcome adversity. That with hard work and a positive attitude, you can achieve what you truly desire. Half the battle is believing you can do it. Of course some days it is hard not to get frustrated, but you should not give up- push through the frustration, use it as strength. The feeling of accomplishment is a feeling like no other, it is something that no one can take away from you.
I cannot believe it is Fourth of July weekend already! I think back to last year when I was in ICU for July 4. My family and my nurses decorated my room with American flags, glow necklaces, and other festive decorations. I had a great corner room and I could hear fireworks going off all night. The only thing that upset me was the fact that I did not get to eat any BBQ! I will definitely rectify that tomorrow. My brother, his wife and new baby (Olivia Jane- 3 months), are on their way as we speak from Tampa, FL. We have yet to meet Olivia so we´re all very excited. In addition, I will have roughly 20+ cousins/aunts and uncles for a get together tomorrow. Along with 5 of my siblings, 2 nieces and 4 nephews, it should be a very exciting weekend!! Yes, in case you did not know, I come from a large (and wonderful) family! One other thing I want to mention regarding this holiday weekend, any time really, is safety. It should not have to be said, but PLEASE do not drink and drive. Always remember to wear your seatbelt. Do not dive where you do not know the depth of the water. Don´t push others in the water. Spinal cord injury does not care who you are, it could happen to anyone anywhere at any time.