“I love you Lord. You are my strength.” – Psalm 18:1
This is not just my favorite verse; this is my war cry. I was born two months early. My mother learned that she had half a uterus and could not carry to full term. My head sat in the birth canal for too long thus giving me brain injury, a neurological disorder called Hydrocephalus.
Hydrocephalus is water in the brain. We are all born with four ventricles that drain the cerebral spinal fluid; for hydrocephalic people one or none of those ventricles work. I have a shunt, a tube which drains the excess fluid to my stomach where it can be properly absorbed.
They say preemies are tough. This could not be truer for me. I started fighting for my life and haven’t stopped since. God has blessed me with a minor learning difference; it’s a difference not a disorder. Most other people with my condition suffer much worse. I have struggled through school my entire life. I have been teased for my small size and emotional ways. However, aside from a love for God my family also taught me never to give up.
I was raised in a Christ centered home. God has been my strength through every challenge the Devil has thrown at me. The teasing caused me draw into myself with depression and anxiety that fed into an eating disorder. I have gone through eight surgeries. At the end of my junior year I tore my ACL, MCL, and meniscus before mile one of a 3.1 mile districts race. You’re darn right I finished that race. I know if I did not have God by my side I would be dead.
The second thing that keeps me moving forward each day is my addiction to endorphins. I was a dancer for thirteen years. I also tried every sport in the book till I found running. Through running a found a deeper connection with my Daddy, and an appreciation for my body. That is not to say I don’t still struggle but I know God thinks I’m to die for.
When I met Shannon she noticed my “Run For God” jersey. I mentioned that I ran for someone else, my school, for years; and now that I’m in college I get to run with God. I run for Him because He died for me. God is everything.
For the month of December, 10% of every Fit Life purchase will be donated to my charity “The Russell Home.” The Russell Home is a Non-Profit for brain damaged children. It is actually the first non-profit institution in the country formed in November, 1951. The home has opened its doors to hundreds of youngsters, sometimes after hearing desperate pleas from desperate parents and in more than one instance, finding them just left on the doorstep.
The love that is in this home, expressed through the eyes, sounds, and smiles from the children will make you count your blessings for the simple things in life.”