I’m always flattered when other people ask to share my story. Whether it be my blog, another blog site, someone I just met, a person in a similar situation, a company, a classroom etc. I don’t mind it at all even if I have to tell it multiple times. I look at it as a way of inspiring others while gaining long-term friendships at the same time.
Since I started my own blog in 2008, I have received multiple comments and messages from around the world either sharing their story or telling me how I impacted them in some way. One example would be when I heard from a guy named Jia who lives in Singapore. Although our stories are different, he has the same injury level and also receives nursing care. Now we talk on occasion through Facebook.
A while back I received a comment from someone who lives in Scotland. He said "Hi there Jenni, I just wanted to say how amazing I think both you and your blog are. You seem like a great person and your blog has helped a lot since my mum was paralyzed 2 years ago, she's a C3 complete, so seeing someone with a similar injury is great for both of us. It hit my mum pretty hard getting injured and seeing other amazing women going through what she has really helped her. Thank you so much for writing it and sharing your story and life."
Aside from my own blog, I’ve also written blog posts for the Easystand blog, a company that supplied me with my first stander. I don’t use it anymore though now that my new wheelchair has the capability of standing itself. You can read multiple posts on their site although it’s currently undergoing construction.
Also, Pediatric Home Services asked me to write an article for their Thrive blog. PHS is a company that I order all of my supplies through for my medical equipment. I was excited to get a chance to write something for their blog, especially because they specialize with pediatric patients. I started with them when I was 16 years old after my accident and have continued into their care even though I’m an adult now.
As far as meeting others, one day I was taking my dog, Brody, for a walk. I ran into one of my neighbors, Rosie, who has 3 dogs and they all came barking towards him. It happened another time a couple days later so I stopped to talk and at that point I shared my story. Not soon after she remembered going to a silent auction for a girl who was just in an accident. Turns out it was me! We met about 5 years ago and since then we’ve become good friends and spend time together pretty much every week.
Another way that I spread my story throughout is by speaking. I’ve done multiple motivational speeches to different Schools and at events. All the way from kindergarten to high school kids along with coordinated organizations. In 2011, I won Ms. Wheelchair Minnesota which gave me a chance to also speak around the state.
I once received an email from a fireman. He told me that he remembered being at my accident and helping out. The way he heard more of my story is actually through his son who was in 3rd grade at the time. Turns out he had come home from school one day telling his dad that someone in my situation came to his classroom and gave a speech. Somehow he figured out that it was me and we were able to get into contact. It was great to know that I made a difference in this little boy’s life along with a longtime memory of this fireman.
I’m sure there are many more stories like the ones I have shared that have happened and are going to in the future. I’ve always thought about writing a book about what happened to me and my journey throughout life, especially since I love to write. It would also create connections and hopefully bring joy along with inspiration to others.