Happy Birthday to Sick Chicks! It has officially been one year since the website went live and our incredible success wouldn't be possible without all of the support we've received along the way. Originally "Sick Chick" was a pen name for my anonymous personal blog (I have since "come out of the disability closet" and stopped being anonymous, but will forever be "Sick Chick"), but I quickly realized through being picked up by an east coast based non-profit, having interview opportunities, and being asked to speak at national conferences that "Sick Chick" could be so much more. While it took years, thank you all for helping to make my dreams a reality. I firmly believe that empowered women empower women and that's what I sick chicks do - we come together and empower each other through really tough times, whether that means being a shoulder to cry on or making inappropriate jokes, we're there for each other through the good, the bad, and the ugly.
This year has been filled with ups and downs, it started off with me being named the Global Genes 2015 RARE Champion of Hope - Teen Advocate, which was such an immense honor and fueled my passion even more for activism. I made many friends at the Summit and look forward to attending this year with my We Are More Family. I've been pushing for specific legislation (OPEN Act and 21st Century Cures) for a while and this year I've gotten to see a great deal of progress being made on those bills. I even got to speak at a break out session during a Rare Disease Legislative Advocacy conference where we lobbied in DC for these to bills.
Sick Chicks has grown beyond my wildest dreams. I've had a Forbes article written about me, I've had my work published, done podcasts, and there is still so much more to come. We've been involved with and partnered with so many organizations led by strong, inspiring women; Made by Mer, InvisiYouth, Debra of America, The Literal Heart, The Superhero Project, Emily's Fight, Hannah's Heartbeat, Dysautonomia Intl., Global Genes, and many more. We've been able to host fun events for local California girls and are finding ways to have Sick Chicks sponsored events all over since we are International!
But, unfortunately, nothing is ever completely positive. This year was very rough health wise. I spent most of the year in and out of the hospital and had two major surgeries (I broke my mom's rule of one major surgery every two years...oops.) I had multiple Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIAs) or mini strokes, and now am dealing with many cognitive impairments that severely impact my reading/writing - as a result. I've been told I'll never be able to read or write at the level I was at before. But, all I know is with my sick chicks at my side, anything is possible. I'm not going down without a fight, and I'm not just going to just accept this.
Thank you all for sticking by me, supporting Sick Chicks and our advocacy efforts. I can't tell you how much it means.
We might not have found Wally this year, but there's always next year, right?