Thursday, March 19, 2015

Miracles Happen

I would like to say that the high from the past 2 weeks is still going, but sadly reality has dulled it a little bit. I can thank comps and the NCE exam for that since I take them in a few weeks.

But the up side to that, is that I'm finally able to get my thoughts and emotions in order about the events that have taken place.

I've posted about it on facebook, so I'm sure you already know....but three huge things have happened!

1. I participated in my first Dance Marathon as a dance at FSU and we raised $1,100,645.52
2. I was accepted into the doc program after receiving a unanimous vote by all the professors that I highly respect and love.
3. I helped my brother out for the 3rd and final year in a row while he worked as a Dancer Relations Captain at UF's Dance Marathon where they raised $2,015,307.17.

It's no secret that since last April it has been a crazy messed up year for myself and my family.
Well, the year is almost up and these last 2 weeks have been a great start to what will hopefully be a better year.

Let's go back to the beginning: my own dance marathon.

I was awake for a total of 32 hours. I don't know if you've ever stayed awake for 32 hours, but I have not. Now I'm a person who goes to sleep at 11 (I'm totally in bed by 9:30) and I wake up at 7:00. I have a routine, but that's partially due to the fact that my body makes me have a routine.

Now I'm not gonna lie, I wasn't sure that I was going to be able to stand for 20 hours straight. I know of a few people who have chronic illnesses that have done Dance Marathon and I thought, "if they can do it, I sure as heck can do it".

That's my competitive side coming out.

There were times in which I just wanted to sit. I wanted to go sit down because I couldn't feel my bones anymore. On a regular day, I would have loved to have that problem because then I couldn't feel the pain that I was in. However, this was not one of those times. I could feel every single ache in my body while not being able to determine which area it was coming from.

Hallie Kritsas is a mad awesome lady for putting up with me and encouraging me throughout the whole marathon. She put up with my delirious self during the silent disco and continuously walking around because there wasn't anything else to do.

Here I was thinking that the bad time for me would be like 2-5 The worst time every was 6-10am. It was during this time that the only thing in the world that I wanted was an angel food smoothie from smoothie king.

Thank God for my brother.

He brought me one around 9:30 and literally spent his last dime on it.
I sucked that thing down and it didn't come out of my hands until the last drop was gone.
Then, probably one of the single handedly most embarrassing moments of my life happened and people saw it thanks to my brother and snapchat.

I cried because I couldn't hula hoop.

In my defense it was 10:00 and I hadn't slept and all I wanted to do was stay awake. But I couldn't hula hoop.

I'm a hula hoop champ.
I won the hula hoop contest my 5th grade year.
I'm awesome.
But for some reason, I just couldn't do it and I cried. Real tears.

Then, one of the best things in the world happened a few hours later.
FSU, for the first time ever, raised a million dollars.
That's a million miracles for the kids.
I still get chills thinking about it.

Next came something that I've been working months for and waiting weeks to find out.
I finally know what I'm going to do with my future lol!
Not knowing if I was going to have to grow up and be an adult or if I was going to spend the next 5 years of my life in school again was just driving me crazy.
Yes my life is going to be twice as stressful.
Yes I've been told I'm going to have to fake it till I make it.
Yes I'm going to be putting my body to the test with the amount of stress I'm going to be under.
But gosh, I'm going to be getting my Ph.D.
That right there, will be worth every tear I'm going to cry and every book I want to throw.

It all came to the end with a cherry on top when I went to gatorville for the weekend for my brother's dance marathon.
It's amazing seeing all the work he's done over the last year and so awesome to get to meet everyone he's worked with.
I also got to catch up with my friend Elise who 100% knows what I'm going through. It's rare to find someone like that, but I found a person who can honestly feel what I feel. We were able to catch up and swap hilarious stories that apparently only we find funny. It's always reassuring to get that time with someone and know that you are not crazy...and you are not alone.
His dance marathon was great! It's so organized and so much fun.
Two people who I've grown to know through my brother, Dylan and Jimmy, won two of the biggest awards that you can win there. They both worked so hard and deserved to be acknowledged for that. I'm so proud of them, and my brother, for all that they do for this cause.
I'm so proud and honored to have been there when broke records and raised over 2 million dollars for the kids.

Guys. That's a total of $3,115,952.69 for both Dance Marathons that I attended.
My mind is blown.

I can't even begin to put together how many families and children that number is affecting.
I can't even begin to think of how many miracles that's making...wait no...I do.
That's over 3 MILLION Miracles.

So many feelings are still happening in my head right now.
I'm in awe, I'm honored, I'm excited, I'm touched...

One of the things that happens during DM is miracle families come share their stories of survival and how everyone is doing now. Some families also come share their stories of loved ones lost. It's meant to inspire the dancers to keep dancing and it works. It pushes us to our limits and shows us what we are really doing it for. These kids are amazing. They want to be like us. We want to be superheros like them.

The most chilling part though is that what happened to them, could happen to anyone.
It could have happened to you.
To me, that hits close to home.

I was in a children's miracle network hospital.
There was a time where we didn't know what would happen.
Now, I'm not comparing myself to them by any means, I was never as sick as some of the miracle children.
They are truly inspirational and miracles in so many ways.
I'm simply saying how in one turn of events, my life took a different path when it could have gone another way.
I'm blessed to be okay enough to dance.
I danced to prove to myself that I can be normal, I can do something to give back, I can help those who really need it, when I could have been just like them.

You could have been just like them.

But that didn't happen to us.
So what do we do?
We dance to help them.
We raise money.
We make miracles happen because these kids need them.

You know, Miracles happen once in a while, when you believe.

Do you believe?

Monday, March 9, 2015

Top 10 List: Apps

Since nearly everyone in today's world has a smart phone, here are some cool apps that I found that can be helpful!

10. Depression Check

This is a free app that assesses depression and anxiety in 3 minutes. It’s a neat little checker that can let you know how high your depression and anxiety levels are and then it gives you some ideas of what you can do to lower it.

9. tap to talk
This was a really cool app for younger kids or those who have developmental disabilities. It’s free too! But what you do is you tap a picture to talk. You can form sentences by tapping on the pictures for the words. It also includes many languages.

8. Simon says
You’re probably thinking why does she have a game on here….well not only is it free, but it can be used to increase memory. Plus, it’s also fun and who doesn’t love fun things.

7. Mind shift
This app is free and it has chill out tools for anxiety. It also provides the person with different ways to think in terms of negative/positive self-talk.

6. First then
It’s a schedule app for 10 dollars to help those who need visual and developmental support to increase independence and lower anxiety during transitions through activities. It’s pretty neat for those who want to work on memory and order techniques

5. ADA 2014 reference
This app gets for stars because everything you need to know about ADA is at the touch of your fingers. It has resources, guidelines, and basic information about the American Disability Act and it’s only 99 cent!

4. Sound amp lite
While it’s only 99 cents, this app does have some pretty cool things in it. Sounds are sent to your ear buds in real time and it basically amplifies the sounds when it’s noisy. This is great for someone who has trouble hearing.

3. Self-help for anxiety medication
This app is free, which is great! It contains customizable anxiety management techniques. It also has scales of how high a person’s anxiety is at the moment, and then provides recommendations on how to lower it.

2. Voice dream reader: text to speech
So this app is the opposite of Dragon Dictation. While it may be 10 dollars, it’s worth every single one. It turns text to speech. It also has tons of languages that it can do too. It can read books to you, or can speak what you write out.  

 1. Dragon Dictation
This app is awesome! I give it 5 stars because not only is it free, but it also does some really cool things. You can speak and it will write for you. It can even post to social media! What’s cool about this is that it’s helpful for those who have problems writing or even hearing in class. You can set the app up to record and basically take notes for you.