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Personal Stories

The following individuals share their stories so others will know their triumphs and the opportunities they have embraced.

Meet Chuck
Chuck credits The Coordinating Center with playing a huge part of getting him back out in public again, both physically and mentally. He said The Center helped him reconnect with the community he lives in, and the culture he’s a part of. Read more about Chuck…

Meet Alexandra
Much of Alexandra’s free time is spent watching cooking shows on the Food Network and perusing cookbooks for new recipes. She had the opportunity to meet one of her favorite food stars, Alton Brown and attended two cooking camps last year. Her inability to eat food has not deterred her. Alexandra aspires to be a chef one day. Read more about Alexandra…

Meet Cara
At the age of 21, Cara has her dream job as an emergency room nurse at Peninsula Regional Medical Center. She knows all too well what it is like to spend time in a hospital, since she was diagnosed with Von Willebrand, a blood clotting disorder, at the age of five. Read more about Cara...

Meet Luke
Luke has undergone four surgeries. He has spent months in the hospital. Common colds would sometimes be debilitating. But through it all, Janet, her husband, George, Luke and her two older sons were able to maintain a normal life thanks to family, friends and the Model Waiver program. “I always said we were going to continue to live our lives as normal as possible and we did,” she said. “Luke went to preschool just like any three-year-old. The only difference is a nurse went with him.” Read more about Luke…

Meet Lauren
Growing up, Lauren liked participating in sports. However, due to a genetic eye disorder that causes Lauren to progressively lose her sight, she always felt limited in what she could do. All of that changed in eleventh grade when Lauren attended the Maryland School for the Blind and was introduced to goalball. Read more about Lauren…

Meet Eric
Sitting in his two-bedroom apartment in Harford County, Eric shakes his head in disbelief. “This is beautiful,” said Eric. “I never thought I would get something like this.” Read more about Eric…

Meet Kayleigh
Two-year-old Kayleigh Hope runs through her Baltimore City house laughing with glee. It is fitting that Kayleigh’s middle name is Hope because that is exactly what her family had to have for the last two years. Read more about Kayleigh…

Meet Antonio
Antonio had turned his life around. He was staying out of trouble and setting goals for himself. At the age of 27, he had his whole life in front of him. Then in a split second, his life changed. He found himself lying in an alley, with a bullet wound, bleeding and unable to move. Read more about Antonio…

Meet Zack
When Zack was born, he weighed four pounds, three ounces. He was breathing on his own and his Apgar scores were good. Two days later that quickly changed. His temperature dropped and doctors discovered severe problems with his intestines. He was flown to Children’s National Medical Center for emergency surgery. Read more about Zack…

Meet Brent
The saying goes, “Good things come in small packages.” Laverne would have to agree. Her son, Brent, was born several months premature, weighing in at 1 pound, 13 ounces. He was a fighter then, just as he is now at the age of 23. Brent has paraplegia, cerebral palsy, and osteoporosis. But he has never let his physical conditions stop him from achieving his goals and fighting for his rights. Read more about Brent…

Meet James
With his wife`s passing, James` life took a sudden and frightening turn. He began experiencing the complications of diabetes and then suffered a debilitating stroke that left him with severe physical deficits and some cognitive loss. He was unable to walk, nor could he make himself understood.  Most of the members of the medical team believed that he would spend the rest of his life in a nursing home, but James would not accept that verdict. Read more about James…

Meet Evan
We have all heard the saying, “life can change in the blink of an eye.” At the age of 22, this saying became a reality for Evan. Read more about Evan…

Meet Mary
While preparing to leave the nursing home, Mary expressed her plans, big plans, for making the world a better place for people with disabilities, especially people with mental health concerns. She had been through enough tragedy to rediscover who she really is and she is not about to let go; nor is she about to forget what she sees as her blessings—blindness, loss of a limb, impairments due to a massive stroke. Still, she says “I was blind, but now I see.” Read more about Mary…

Meet Sonia
The accident changed Sonia`s life forever. It could have been the end of her life, as she gradually awoke from a coma of five months` duration to find that her little girl, 7 years old, had died after the two of them were hit by a car on a Baltimore street. She also remembered that days before the accident she had given birth to baby Ezekial, and that her younger daughter, Essence, had just turned 2. They were being cared for in different homes by relatives and Sonia was devastated by the impact of this news. Read more Sonia…

Meet Perneita
Getting her master`s degree, setting a date for her wedding, shopping for “The Dress.”  This could be any young woman beginning her new life.  But this is not any young woman.  This is a woman who struggled to be free from a series of crushing medical crises and the overwhelming burdens of debt and loss that resulted from them. She remembers the date—April 5, 2005—when she experienced a significant medical event arising from lupus.  And that began the cascading traumas. Read more about Pernetia…