Michigan is my home. As a child, my family took advantage of many bright Michigan days to enjoy camping or just a simple backyard barbecue. My fondest childhood memories are of the days when we were all outside on a beautiful summer Michigan day.
My parents both served in the Battle Creek Police Department and were my heroes growing up. However, knowing your parents are able to protect you from the worst of humanity doesn’t prevent tragedy from seeping into one’s life.
When I was 11 years old, my mother was diagnosed with Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis. I will never forget my dad telling me that I needed to learn how to start taking on more responsibility in case the day came when my mom would no longer be able to take care of our family.
As soon as I adjusted to the new normal with my mom’s diagnosis, I lost one of my heroes.
My father was shot and killed in the line of duty when I was 12 years old. He was right, I had to take on more responsibility, but it was not in the way, or the extent that either of us expected.
Unfortunately, life didn’t get easier for our family. When I was 17, my sister required multiple brain surgeries due to an unexpected and rare brain infection. I was by her side as she learned to breath, eat, walk, and talk again.
My sister suffered brain damage and acquired epilepsy from the trauma. She is now in a special education school focusing on soft-skills and employment. Her strong will has shown me that nothing is impossible when you work hard for the right reasons.
From the darkness and grief that overwhelmed my adolescent years, I found grit, courage, and compassion within myself.
I grew into a woman capable of taking care of her family. More than that, I grew into a woman who is compelled to serve her community.
I earned my master’s degree in social work from Grand Valley State University and I have been giving back to my community ever since. The experiences I went through convinced me that we need to take care of all of our citizens, the bravest and the neediest.
I live my commitment to my community. I currently work at Hospice of Lansing and previously worked at Community Mental Health of Clinton, Eaton, and Ingham County.
I currently serve as chair of the Young Democrats of Lansing, I am a co-chair of the Young Professional Alzheimer's Advocates of Lansing (YPAAL), and am a member of the Public Policy Committee for the Michigan Alzheimer's Association.
I have advocated at the state and national level for education and healthcare policies. I know intimately how these policies impact families in our community.
I am grateful to call #LoveLansing my home.
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