By Jeanie Summerville
Whatz up, babies? We bring to you another “After the Fact” because we have some more joy, beauty, love and excitement to share with you, on our journey of love, about some wonderful things that has happened and I’m loving it, just loving it. On that note, remember back in the May 15, 2013 issue, when we brought to you Ta’Bria Collier? Well, if you don’t, she was the young lady that was born with the inherited disease S.M.A. (Spinal Muscular Atrophy) and there’s no treatment or cure for it. So she wasn’t expected to live past the age of two and now she’s 18 years old. Well, it pleases me to say that her mother, Celia Reed, and I kept in touch and check out these wonderful things that have happened for Ta’Bria:
“Hello, Frost readers. After Ta’Bria’s spotlight, she received her Certificate of Completion from Homestead High School; she received a presidential acknowledgement from the president of the United States, Barack Obama and Michelle, congratulating her on her accomplishments, as well as an autographed photograph of the president.
“We had an enjoyable time at the graduation service and what was memorable for us is that she got to lead all the other graduates into the ceremony and she enjoyed that. She loves kids, so there were a lot of her classmates there and then we went to the Botanical Gardens for her Open House. Friends and family were there to honor her and she lit up. She responded with the eye blinks to different things that were happening and it was an enjoyable time.
“Then on the Saturday after that on May 25, 2013, we did an honor walk for a cure at Kreager Park and we raised almost $1,500 in her honor. She spent the whole time at the walk-a-thon, which was about four hours and she was able to tolerate that occasion both medically and physically the whole time with no problems at all. We even had the state chapter president who came and offered some encouraging words in order to prepare Ta’Bria for the State Walk August 24, 2013 in Indianapolis. At the walk, a mayor’s representative from the city of Fort Wayne presented Ta’Bria with a proclamation of achievements and declared May 25 in the city of Fort Wayne, Ind., as Ta’Bria Neosha Collier Day and encouraged all citizens to recognize her for her strength, perseverance and bravery. We also received a $500 donation towards the walk from Indiana Department of Workforce Development staff.
“Ta’Bria really enjoyed herself and I enjoyed myself too. It is very good to feel loved and Fort Wayne, even though she couldn’t stand up, they made her stand out. So I’m real appreciative of the Fort Wayne community and we had people and relatives from all across the United States that came to share in this tremendous milestone that’s not accomplished by many people with her disease. I’m a very proud mother.
“We thought of a couple of things that we’re going to do now, that she’s graduated. I know that she loves being engaged with people and she likes doing things and one of the things that she does for her church members, if she finds out that they’re ill is, she’ll makes them book marks to give to them. And, so to piggy back off that, I thought about what made Ta’Bria comfortable when she was eight and nine months of age as she was going through all the medical drama that she had to go through. I wanted to remember, what kept her feeling comfortable and safe, even though she was in intensive care, so I asked myself what was it that got Ta’Bria over that hump? I remember, we’d put little stuffed animals and little soft pillows in her bed to comfort her, as well as, our hands and that would always seem to calm her down when she became anxious.
“So now, the direction that I’m going is, making little pillows to protect her arms from any fractures, pressure sores an etc., and she likes it. It’s like she can’t go anywhere without her sunglasses, her hat or her pillows so in order for her to give back, we’re going to make little pillows for the ICU at all the hospitals in Fort Wayne and they will say, especially made by Ta’Bria with love. They will be for the children that are going through similar or catastrophic events to encourage them to feel safe. And, that’s what she’s going to do these next years, as well as, her High School is going to continue to Skype (communicate through I-Pod’s) her three days a week so I’m very excited about this because she’ll still be engaged, in that setting, with some of the friendships that she’s made.”
Fantastic job, Ta’Bria and Celia! I’m so proud of the both of you.
This article originally appeared in the July 31 print edition.