The Strength She has Given Me

One of my best friends sustained a TBI almost 5 years ago while competing in a cycling race. At the time of her injury I couldn’t comprehend how serious it was and assumed that her life would quickly resume as normal. Catherine found however, that pushing her body to maintain the pace of her former lifestyle wasn’t conducive to her recovery. She had to take a step back and permit herself the time, rest, and self-love to allow her brain to heal. Even so, every day she battled pounding headaches, light sensitivity, memory problems, foggy thinking, and overstimulation. Daily activities were challenging and drained her energy, and she dedicated many hours to grueling therapy.

Through it all and to this day, Catherine is one of the most positive people I know. While she has every right to complain, she never does. She’s always channeling her hardships into beautiful selfless acts of kindness. It’s been incredible for me to witness how Catherine has transformed the pain of her circumstances by bringing joy to others. She has especially been an inspiration in my own life.

Over the past 1 ½ years I have been struggling with unresolved health issues. I had to take a break from grad school and come to terms with how quickly my life was changing. Catherine was the only person I knew who had experienced the feelings of frustration and restlessness that I felt. She’s helped me realize that while my life is following a different path than I’d planned, I can still find purpose and meaning in my life exactly the way it is. She’s kept me strong in my faith, filled me with hope and perspective, and has been a great encourager.

While Catherine has made significant gains in her recovery, she still has tough days. I am passing my STRENGTH key bracelet on to her, as a way of giving back some of the Strength she has given me. I’m hoping the key will serve as a reminder of the great influence she has had and continues to have on my life and the lives of the many others she has touched.