The 1996 Summer Olympics Torch Relay

The 1996 Summer Olympics Torch Relay

The 1996 Summer Olympics Torch Relay

IGNITE a Light at Night

UNITE the World with LIGHT

“The 1996 Summer Olympics torch relay  was run from April 27, 1996 until July 19, 1996, prior to the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta… The relay involved over 12,000 torchbearers, including Muhammad Ali, whose lighting of the Olympic cauldron at the opening ceremony is remembered as one of the most inspiring and emotional moments in Olympic history” – Wikipedia

Being chosen as a torchbearer for the 1996 Olympic Torch Relay was both humbling and an honor.

During a 1996 Olympic event in Louisville, Kentucky, my husband and I met Muhammad Ali. Remembering the stillness that filled the room as Muhammad Ali was accompanied into the ballroom was electrifying. You could feel the energy shift.

sharon-moodySeated behind us, my husband leaned towards me and said he would like to meet Mr. Ali. Someone must have heard him. There was a tap on my husband’s shoulder. As he stood up, Muhammad Ali extended his hand as if they were old friends.

It was a WONDERFUL Memory Moment which made the Olympic Torch Relay and the Summer Olympics that much more personal to us.

In a New York Times Magazine article published SUNDAY, July 7, 1996: The Olympics;Atlanta Needs Flame! Notes From a Long Torch Trip

 

Sharon-torch“In 60 years of Olympic torch relays, never have so many carried fire so far.” During its journey, the flame was to cross the bridge from Indiana to Kentucky. The excitement was mounting on that June 5 evening in Louisville, Kentucky as everyone waited for the arrival of the flame at the Riverfront Plaza-Belvedere.

The New York Times further states, “ Just minutes away from a downtown gala, University of Kentucky’s basketball coach, Rick Pitino, is delayed by the F.B.I. while agents investigate a bomb threat against the event.”

Once the all clear was given, the flame arrived and the festive celebratory environment once again erupted.

The flame continued its journey through Louisville the next morning making its way to Atlanta, Georgia.

Seeing the lighting of the cauldron in Atlanta on July 19, 1996, and hearing the song “The Power of the Dream,” the theme song from the 1996 Olympics, the following verse stuck a nerve. “Feel the flame forever burn teaching lessons we must learn, to bring us closer to the power of the dream… The world unites in hope and peace, we pray that it will always be. It is the power of the dream that brings us here.”

Continuing to “feel the flame forever burn,” LIGHTFEST was born from the Olympic Torch Relay. It was originally held at Churchill Downs from 1997 to 2001. Archive Courier-Journal March 24, story of the original LIGHTFEST event by Bill Wolfe stated the “Festival radiates light, hope, dreams and Olympic spirit.”

The re-igniting of LIGHTFEST was kicked off with a reception at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky, on November 8 2014, in the area that houses Muhammad Ali’s torch.

LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited  continues to Inspire Hopes and Dreams.

For most, Muhammad Ali is seen as a “Symbol of Hope” throughout the world. He proved that one person can “Be Great and Do Great Things.”

Muhammad Ali, 1942-2016

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.”

The Basic Ingredient of Hope

Many THANKS to Bob Mueller! In reading (his writings) his stories, they are a reflection of his work and his strong belief that there is HOPE.

I especially found the title of this story “The Basic Ingredient of Hope” to be in line with the mission of  We Survive and LIGHTFEST. Bob sums it up so well in this sentence, “Hope is a positive and potent basic ingredient with the power to pull us through difficult times.”

~Sharon Cecil

 

The Basic Ingredient of Hope 

Written by: Bob Mueller, Vice President of Development at Hosparus, Louisville, KY

www.bobmueller.org

 

Turning on a light is my cue to practice hope. When I plant a seed or a bulb, I am reminded to plant hope in my heart. Whenever I meet people who are thrashing about in gloom and doom, I vow to hold up the banner of hope.

Hope is a positive and potent basic ingredient with the power to pull us through difficult times. Hope is the virtue I write and talk about the most and the element most needed in our world. It is usually described with light metaphors – a ray, a beam, a glimmer of hope; the break in the clouds; the light at the end of the dark tunnel. It is often discovered in unexpected places.

Hope can be learned with practice. Certain attitudes support it. One is patience, an ability to tolerate delays, a willingness to let events unfold in their own time. Another is courage, an attitude of confidence even when facing the unknown. A third is persistence, the determination to keep going no matter what happens. We have hope when we can say “All will be well,” and we mean it.

Hope is the basic ingredient of optimism, a tendency to dwell on the best possibilities. It is a frequent companion of another practice – enthusiasm. It, too, is energizing. The greeting “Be of good cheer” puts it well.

But a more common, and very telling expression, is “Hope for the best, but expect the worst.” The more likely outcome, it implies, is the worst. When we are without hope, we easily fall victim to such negativism. When the light of hope is absent, we are overcome by gloom and doom, despair and defeatism.

In terms of personal style, without hope we are easily frustrated and quickly discouraged. We may lack the stamina and nerve to continue struggling against adversity. We are fainthearted. We really do expect the worst.

Places in the Heart is an emotional affecting film about living with hope. It is set in a small Texas town during the 1930. When Edna’s husband, the sheriff, is killed, this vulnerable and passive woman is suddenly faced with the challenge of taking full responsibility for her life and her children’s future. She hires Moze, a black itinerant worker, to plant and harvest a cotton crop on her 40-acre farm. She takes on Mr. Will, a blind man, as a boarder. This extended family is bonded together during a tornado in the biggest challenge of all – harvesting the cotton in time to win the bonus prize for the first crop, money desperately needed to pay the farm’s mortgage.

This is a story about struggling through adversity and being sustained by hope. The closing scene of Places in the Heart takes place in a church during a communion service. It demonstrates in a palpable way how the hope for a better life, one of inclusiveness and reconciliation, extends even beyond the grave.

Rock music is basically a hopeful medium, despite all the lyrics about personal woes and the messes and miseries of the world. When we need a boost, nothing is quite as effective as putting on a pounding rock song and joining in the defiant and hopeful chorus. To see what I mean, listen to these  anthems of hope: “I Can See Clearly Now” by Johnny Nash, “You Can Make It If You Try” by Sly and the Family Stone and “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor.

Write affirmations to express your hopes for yourself and a better world. Make positive, optimistic statements as often as possible. Be cheerful. This is not being Pollyanna. It is leaving a door open to hope.

 

WE meets Y changing Me to WE

WE meets Y changing Me to WE

WE meets Y changing Me to WE

Written by Sharon Cecil

You may not be familiar with organizations that encourage youth to get involved in changing the world. Let me introduce you to YMCA Y-Corps and WE Day.

ycorp2009_group_picture_rsz

Y-Corps group at Haven of Hope in 2009

In 2009, Y-Corps planned a summer mission trip throughout the state of Kentucky. We Survive was the last stop on their week long journey. Drew Caldwell, a YMCA staff member, began preparation for the students at We Survive a week before the students would be doing extensive projects at We Survive headquarters in Bloomfield, KY.

Drew had such passion for his work with the youth and their success. His parents came to help Drew with his efforts in order to have everything that was need ready.

During the June 20, 2009, Y-Corps Mission Trip, my husband Moody and I watched with amazement as this group of youth transformed We Survive’s headquarters into what is now called Haven of Hope.

In the fall of 2009, the First Day of Hope  was made possible due to the work accomplished by Y-Corps efforts.

In 2015, I was introduced to Wendy Sirchio, WE DAY Ambassador and Co-Founder of WE Day Kentucky. I was able to witness INCREDIBLE youth and their willingness to give of themselves, due to the volunteer efforts of a group of youth, Act Out 4 Kids. These young people put in numerous volunteers hours from September 2015 until April 21, to help We Survive promote LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited.

WE Day Kentucky was held on April 21, at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts. We Survive is proud of their presence during We Day Kentucky 2016.

We Survive— Y-Corp—WE Day Connection

The beginning of April, 2016, I received an email from a young woman involved with WE Day, who stated, “I was a student on the first Y-Corps trip to visit Haven of Hope, as well as a part of the group that came back for a visit after the trip. Such a wonderful place to see and a beautiful place to serve! …Haven of Hope is certainly among the most memorable places from my time as a Y-Corps kid.”

A report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Volunteering in the United States News Release says that the number of volunteers are dropping. Since the age range begins at 16 years old and other factors, I have to wonder about the accuracy of this report.

WE Day says we need to change “Me to We.”

Excerpt from Giving

“When we give, we share what we have with others,

It makes life worth living and gives others a smile.

It matters not the size or quantity of the gift imparted,

It’s the loved perceived that makes it all worthwhile.”

It is unfortunate that some organizations would rather not work with younger volunteers. Working with youth is refreshing. They are full of enthusiasm. They want to make a difference in this world.

“Americans who volunteer are also likely to be healthier…There are abundant opportunities to get healthy by volunteering…” ~~ National Get Outdoors Day 

National Get Outdoors Day

If you are looking for a volunteer opportunity, join us at ScenicFest a LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited activity on June 11 for Get Outdoors Day.

For more information email us: lightfest@wesurvive.org

Hope for Teens during Mental Health Awareness Month

Hope for Teens during Mental Health Awareness Month

Hope for Teens during Mental Health Awareness Month

Written by Sharon Cecil

MentalHealthWordsMay is Mental Health Awareness Month. It offers us the opportunity to look at mental health for our family and ourselves.

Teens have so much on their plate these days with the fast paced world in which we live. The Internet brings everything to the forefront except for the one thing teens need—one-on- one time.

June 11, 2016, is National Get Outdoors Day (GO Day).  GO Day has a list of reasons “Why GO Day is Great.”

Reason #2 says, “Teenagers live in a world that is more stressed than ever before. They get overloaded with pressure at school, conflicts at home, relationship problems, and career choices. Many have to deal with divorce, moves, financial struggles, jobs, and blended families. When stress builds up, teens cope however they can. They may drink, drive aggressively, get high, overeat, go shopping, spend hours on the computer or playing video games, or take out their frustration on others.

This is why we see increased bullying, isolation, depression, obesity, eating disorders, inappropriate sexual activity, violent outbursts, cutting, intolerance and hate crimes, suicide, and many other destructive choices.

Kids need new and better choices. They need help unwinding and handling pressure in positive ways. Recreation is a powerful antidote to stress.”

You’re invited to join us for GO Day–ScenicFest

On June 11, 2016, Bloomfield, KY and We Survive’s Haven of Hope will hold a GO Day activity – ScenicFest  –a LIGHTFEST Re-ignited initiative.

Besides the benefits of active time spent outdoors, ScenicFest will give you the chance to be adventurous spending time in a small one-stop light town—the City of Bloomfield. If you are traveling from the city to the country, you will enjoy a scenic ride.

ScenicFest will be a mix of whole body wellness experiences from enjoying the scenic landscape, browsing at shops with antiques and collectibles, meeting friendly people walking, hiking, games, scavenger hunt, interactive health and wellness educational stations, arts and crafts. In other words a day full of fun and HOPE.

When you are doing a mental health check, some Key Tips for Parents 

 Keep communication constant, open, and honest

 Understand that mental health disorders are treatable

 Be attentive to your teen’s behavior

For more information on Mental Health and Wellness during the month of May, you can visit We Survive: A Hope for Health and Wellness 

Cast a Vote 4Hope

In November–Cast a Vote 4Hope

Written by Sharon Cecil

With 2016 being an election year, all forms of media are surrounding us as if they were a wagon train.  This has led to media frenzy. There is commentary everywhere on raised voices, lack of tolerance, bullying, protests, etc. Multiple issues such as joblessness, healthcare, taxes, and so much more are a great concern to Americans.

What can we do to come together and show our support for the future of America?

How can one person make a difference?

It takes one person with an idea connecting with a community.  You can read Florence Nightingale’s story to see how she made a tremendous difference.

How can I cast a vote for Hope?

video picture1November 5, LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited
Shine a Light of HOPE

November 8,  Election Day
Be sure to VOTE

November 5, 2016 LIGHT UP!

We ask that on November 5, at 6pm Eastern Time, wherever you are around the world, display a Light of Hope.  It can be a porch light, candle, cell phone or flashlight…spread the word to friends and family.  This can be done as a group or individually.  You can do your activity on November 5 or anytime throughout the year.  Contact us at lightfest@wesurvive.org for more information.

Attitudes Are the Real Disability

Attitudes Are the Real Disability

henry-holden-1

Henry Holden

In 2014, Madison Pierce from Los Angeles, California was given an assignment to write about someone who not only inspired her but also overcame adversity.  Madison shared with us her story regarding Henry Holden a LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited Ambassador.  As we Celebrate Hope in 2016, STAR Ambassador Henry Holden will shine brightly for LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited.

“Attitudes Are the Real Disability”

Written by Madison Pierce, Los Angeles, CA

image1Henry Holden’s life journey has inspired many people all over the world to not give up and have determination. He was born in Germany in a displacement camp called Fahrenwald, near Munich, on March 20, 1948 and is known for never letting his disability get in the way of anything he sets his mind on. Faced with a disability that left him unable to use his legs, Henry Holden speaks primarily at colleges, influencing and inspiring students and all who listen.

Henry Holden was 4 years old when he remembers walking with his mother, and couldn’t walk correctly. Later that night he woke up and started screaming. His parents called the ambulance which took him to the hospital. The emergency room doctors informed Henry’s parents that he was faking and could walk just fine. After more tests, the doctors realized that Henry had polio in both of his legs and would be permanently disabled, never able to walk again without the help of crutches and/or braces. He has had about six arduous surgeries on his legs. Even with his polio, Henry was gallant and still played baseball, football, and other sports with his neighborhood friends. Henry’s determination to assimilate was as powerful as Edison’s perseverance in developing the light bulb. His parents had high expectations for him, and for Henry, that was very important. It was both his parents and his neighborhood friends that inspired him to never give up on himself. According to Henry Holden’s website, “Don’t DIS the ability” is his “compelling message.”

Henry Holden currently is a motivational speaker, actor, comedian, writer, and two-time LA Marathon participant in a wheel chair. He speaks mainly at colleges, and has traveled all around the United States of America, and internationally to England and Bermuda. He has given over one hundred speeches. He recalls one time he was speaking at a school in Minnesota and the people who brought him in said that a student was going to drop out. The student decided not to after hearing Henry speak. Sharon Cecil from the Courier Journal states, “Thank you for showing not only me but also the world what can be done when will overcomes adversity!”

Henry Holden has been seen on many television shows. Some of these shows include: Becker, TJ Hooker, After M.A.S.H, Knotts Landing, and Hunter. He loved performing in these shows because they didn’t focus on his disability. He played characters that happen to have a disability. He is most proud of the show Kids Incorporated, a Disney show that Fergy was on. The show’s message that people can do anything they want, regardless of having a disability, made a big impact on people’s lives, especially the children who watched the show. Henry Holden has also written The Hitman and Other Short Plays, which features Henry as one of the characters. The Hitman was made into a 10 minute short film. Stated on Henry Holden’s website from one of the audience members at a recent conference, “What you’re doing is opening the eyes for people who didn’t know they could see”. “Mr. Holden is an excellent speaker. He is not only positive and humorous, but stands as an excellent role model. Mr. Holden, I greatly admire you!”

img_8007Henry Holden has made a difference in many people’s lives, telling them to never give up; never let anyone tell you, you “can’t” do something, show them that you can. He never felt indignant about his disability, it only made him more singular. As his famous and well-known slogan goes, “Attitudes are the Real Disability!”  Henry resolutely states “There is nothing negative about an individual. Everything about a person is positive. You just have to focus on the positive.”

Testimonial from Ryan Hatfield

Testimonial from Ryan Hatfield

Testimonial from Ryan Hatfield

Intro by Sharon Cecil

I would like to share with you a letter from a most memorable young man Ryan Hatfield who captured my heart on August 10, 2013 with an unforgettable introduction.

—————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

mortar and pestalMarch 15, 2016

I first became involved with We Survive and Day of Hope as a first-year pharmacy student. The Day of Hope event was the first service learning project I had undertaken in pharmacy school. I didn’t really know what to expect other than I knew I was going to help provide health education to underprivileged children and their families.

Each of the pharmacy students were paired up with one of the children from the shelter. The child with whom I was paired was one of the older ones there, and he was definitely not thrilled that he had to participate. I tried talking to him and getting him to open up, but all I got was nowhere fast. I get it—we are from two vastly different worlds, and to be completely honest, I probably would have been just as aloof as he was if I was in his shoes.

The day itself had various activities. There was an educational component to it, of course, but the children and families also got to explore nature. For most of them, I’d hedge a bet that it was the first time they’d ever been out of the city. The young man with whom I was partnered started loosening up a little when we went on the hike, but he really came out of his shell when we went down to the creek. He absolutely loved being able to explore the creek. His biggest prize was the frog that he caught. We had to pry him from the creek when it was time for the groups to change activities. He did a 180 from the time he arrived at the farm to the time that he left. Being out at the farm did wonders for him, even if it may have only been for that day.

The children and families that participated in the event were so gracious and so thankful. If not for Moody and Sharon Cecil, I don’t think a lot of these folks would have the opportunity to get out into the country and experience nature in its true form. The Cecil’s have done amazing things with this program.

Seeing the children and families being able to enjoy their day with playing games and being out in nature and being able to forget about life for a while was a great opportunity for me as well. I’ve participated in the Day of Hope event each of my 3 years in pharmacy school. I graduate in June, and while I know that I won’t always be able to attend the Day of Hope event every year, it is an organization that I do wish to continue to support.

Thank you, Moody and Sharon, for helping put the human condition in greater perspective for me.

 

Ryan Hatfield, PharmD

Sullivan University College of Pharmacy, Class of 2016

A “mustard-seed” and ME

A “mustard-seed” and ME

A “mustard-seed” and ME

Written by Sharon Cecil

Mustard-Seed_2_311x311I have worn a mustard seed charm (amulet) necklace for almost 26 years after a diagnosis of cancer.  The mustard seed is coupled with an ATTITUDE charm on one necklace.  HOPE and Faith go together like Love and Marriage.

A few years later, my husband and I started We Survive, to educate, empower, and inspire our community to promote hope and complete body wellness in order to achieve optimal health.

“So never lose an opportunity of urging a practical beginning, however small, for it is wonderful how often in such matters the mustard-seed germinates and roots itself.” ~~ Florence Nightingale

Adversities are varied and many need medical attention when it comes to our body, mind and spirit.  Adversity can lead to uncertainty.  As a nurse, my specialty is Psychiatric and Mental Health nursing.  I wonder if you have ever thought about how nurses bring people back to life.  I will say that if you only fix one part of the problem, the rest of the body may have difficulty feeling completely balanced.

In 2015, while working with the homeless population, a young wide-eyed innocent and enthusiastic girl seemed to have an answer to life’s problems.  This 4 year old homeless child said to a group of people, “If you have hope, you are happy.”

We can restore balance in our lives when we take a simple concept, such as HOPE and work with it.  Like Florence Nightingale said about the “mustard-seed,” you can let it take root and watch it grow into a mustard plant.  Just like an apple, there is a question that lingers, which I will ask about a mustard seed—how many seeds come from a mustard plant?

With 2016 being an election year, all forms of media are surrounding us as if they were a wagon train.  This has led to media frenzy.  There is commentary everywhere on raised voices, lack of tolerance, bullying, protests, etc. Multiple issues such as joblessness, healthcare, taxes, and so much more are a great concern to Americans.

What can we do to come together and show our support for the future of America?

 

CAST A VOTE

FOR HOPE

for a

Brighter Future

 

You may ask, “How can one person make a difference?” or “How can I cast a vote for Hope?”

Florence Nightingale is known as ”the Lady with the Lamp,” because she carried a lantern as she make her rounds to hospitalized patients and homes.  As she revolutionized nursing, she became an icon for the nursing profession and impacted healthcare around the world with her “crusade to save lives.”

How can one person make a difference

It takes one person with an idea connecting with a community.  You can read Florence Nightingale’s story to see how she made a tremendous difference.

 

How can I cast a vote for Hope?

video picture1November 5, LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited

Shine a Light of HOPE

                                                                                                             

November 8,  Election Day

Be sure to VOTE

                                                                                                        

November 5, 2016 LIGHT UP!

We ask that on November 5, at 6pm Eastern Time, wherever you are around the world, display a Light of Hope.  It can be a porch light, candle, cell phone or flashlight…spread the word to friends and family.  This can be done as a group or individually.  You can do your activity on November 5 or anytime throughout the year.  Contact us at lightfest@wesurvive.org for more information.

Inspiration and Hope Shines On

Inspiration and Hope Shines On

Inspiration and Hope Shines On

Written by Sharon Cecil

henry-holden-1Henry Holden, a LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited Ambassador, has left us to become a star shining brilliantly for the universe. He was an INCREDIBLE talent.

LIGHTFEST originated in 1997. It was inspired by the 1996 Olympic Torch Relay and the theme song from the Olympics, “The Power of the Dream.”

HenryMarathonHenry Holden was an incredible person, role model and so much more. He agreed to be an Ambassador to the re-igniting of LIGHTFEST in 2014. LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited goals remain the same as the original LIGHTFEST, Inspiring Hopes and Dreams. Henry was diagnosed with polio in 1952 at the age of 4 years old during the polio epidemic. He did not allow this to deter him from being exuberant about life. He played sports, became an actor, stand-up comic, motivational speaker, writer, playwright and advocate for those with disabilities and a two-time LA Marathon participant.

I have said that Henry was my hero Henry. He had a way of inspiring and motivating people. In talking with a close friend of Henry’s, she shared how Henry hated to be called “an inspiration”. She says, “I get it, he was often told that he was an inspiration when he was also being told that he didn’t get the part. ‘I’m sorry, Henry, we’ve gone in another direction. But you are an inspiration to me.’ Oh my, would he get upset. I used to pretend to be a woman in a drunken brawl using the word inspiration as a curse word. ‘I’m an inspiration? An INSPIRATION?!?! YOU’RE an inspiration! You wanna see inspiring? Go look in the damn mirror! Why don’t you go home and INSPIRE YOURSELF!’ He would laugh until he couldn’t breathe. Nonetheless, he was and still is, an inspiration.”

Henry was a perfect role model on how to overcome adversity. He supported and encouraged my abilities. He allowed the young people I worked with to interview him in order to strengthen their skills while sharing his strength and talents.

In a review of the “The Hitman and other short plays” by Henry Holden, it states that, “Unlike books about the disabled that prey on your sympathy, The Hitman and other short plays show the disabled living within a mix of regular people, and facing the same conflicts and feeling the same emotions as everyone else. It’s one big melting pot of human beings from every walk of life. There are the young and the old; there’s new-found love and romance, and then there’s marriage; there are politicians, actors and just plain middle class workers at IKEA and in an optometry store in Wassila, Alaska. Henry Holden creates characters that are simultaneously similar and different…and we can relate to all of them.”

Heartfelt gratitude to Henry Holden for his talent to inspire!!

Sharon (Wells) McKean’s Story Shared

Sharon (Wells) McKean’s Story Shared

Sharon (Wells) McKean’s Story Shared

Written by Sharon Cecil

SharonChrissyStarWith the popularity of social media, the internet and hand held devices, life’s pace has increased greatly.   Some days, it is just hard to keep up with yourself much less what others are doing.

Yet, in our lifetime, we will all face some form of adversity—financial, crushing personal relationship(s), job, unrealized dreams, illness and more.

“Between stimulus and response is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” – Viktor E. Frankl

Married to an Army soldier who has served all over the world, Sharon (Wells) McKean has been an avid participant with We Survive, since high school.

Sharon was an active member of We Survive’s WOW Program.

As a contributor to WOW publications, Sharon says, “Through working with We Survive I found my voice. I was challenged to write about topics I had never thought about before. I learned to display my empathy for others through my writing and was able to connect with people I had never met before. I remember meeting a lady when I was 16 who told me her story of how she had taken my poem on breast cancer out of the WOW Magazine hung it on her wall while she herself was going through treatments for breast cancer. It was pure happenstance I met her and we talked, but she cried and thanked me saying my poem gave her strength to fight for her children. I was 14 when I wrote that poem and had never known anyone with breast cancer. That is what writing with We Survive did for me, it presented me with challenges that enabled me to grow as a writer that literally gave people hope and changed their lives.”

As a co-host and moderator for WOW’s radio talk show, Sharon interviewed others on topics that covered the spectrum of health and wellness. Sharon felt, “I was empowered to use my voice, ask hard hitting questions and educate my community on issues I felt everyone should be aware of. I built self confidence and became assertive standing for my opinions and representing my peers. I learned to plan a show, develop interview questions and techniques. Opportunities I would have never been given had it not been for We Survive.”

“Never underestimate the difference you can make.”—Christopher Reeves

During her travels around the world with her husband, Sharon continues to serve We Survive in an advisory capacity.  She brought global attention to LIGHTFEST Re-Ignited

At the age of 26, Sharon was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).  She has been involved with MS activities to include the MS Walk and educates especially during the Month of March which is MS Awareness Month.

Starting March 2016, Sharon will be launching a We Survive Multiple Sclerosis education and awareness initiative that focuses on how much having HOPE played in her resiliency.