Our founder, Melissa Ann, utilizes her second chance at life to reach the masses. She actively lives on the mission of empowering individuals, meeting them wherever they’re at in their journey. Her drive for life wasn’t always people focused though.
In 2008, Melissa became a quadriplegic at 18 years old, paralyzed from the neck down. Although the result of a car crash, this was no freak accident, this was not out of her control. One decision of drinking and driving took away her physical independence for the rest of her life. Because of this, Melissa is extremely passionate about bringing awareness to these devastating realities. So many people aren’t given this unique second chance, and because of that, it is her goal to prevent one destructive decision at a time.
After overcoming the anger and depression that came with the loss of her own body, Melissa decided to pursue a undergraduate degree, majoring in human communication. She takes any opportunity she can get to share her personal story of turning tragedy into hope. Melissa is an ordinary person having an extraordinary opportunity to relate to people of all ages.
Melissa states, “I was only 18, I had it all figured out. I was ready to move out, college was starting in one week, I had a plan. With everything going on at that time of my life I guess you could say I became a little bit careless. One rainy night in August I went to a party, I drank, but I never made it home. Instead, I landed myself with a quadriplegic spinal cord injury for the rest of my life. I’ll never forget as I started waking up from a coma 10 days later, slowly realizing what was going on. I ended up breaking five vertebrae in my neck leaving me diagnosed as a complete C3 quadriplegic. I physically lost everything, or so I thought. I lost all feeling and movement below my neck, including the ability to even breathe on my own. Trying to talk with a ventilator supporting my every breath, I just didn’t understand what happened. How does this happen to me was all I could think. As far as I know people are only born with disabilities, I NEVER knew you could break your neck and never have a chance of being independent ever again.
Well, it took over a year to realize that this wasn’t a small injury and it really wasn’t going to ‘get better’ like I knew it would. I now had two choices. I can stay stuck in this miserable depressed position that I was in or I can pick up the pieces and take what I have left to build up a new life. Is it the life I’ve always wanted? Maybe not, BUT I now have a unique second chance that has allowed me the opportunity to help others make positive choices. I would slowly figure out that this is exactly where I needed to be.
Now a university graduate with optimal health, I am still a quadriplegic since the careless choice I made in 2008. I have rebuilt my life and I am waking up to help others every day. God’s love is everywhere, sometimes you just have to be slowed down to see it. I wasn’t even slowed down, I was stopped dead in my tracks. How could I not give my life and back to The One who gave me life…
None of us have it easy, but if we can help somebody see the light in a world full of darkness then I believe that is a job well done.
How could I wake up every day and not help somebody else struggling? I know this life was never supposed to be about me, but unfortunately it took a life altering injury to see that. This doesn’t have to be the case for everybody though. Regardless of the trial or story, every moment we have a chance to break a negative cycle. I learned at 18 years old that it just takes one bad decision to wreck a life. I also learned, that so much hope is available when we choose to start over. I have a love for something so much greater than myself, and that’s people.
With the burning desire and vision to help millions, I know I first must begin with just one. No matter your circumstance, whether it is hope, love, or combination of both you are seeking; let us help you bring light back into life.”