Hope for Health— Why I do what I doI created the Hope For Health Initiative in 2017 our of my own personal journey of discovering my courage and my health. I grew up as a shy, sickly, overweight child, who feared going to school because of being bullied for my size. Or worse, breaking down in front of my classmates in tears because of yet another horrible stomachache caused by eating unhealthy foods.
My home was filled with junk food, soda, and microwave dinners. I began using food as a form of self-abuse in my teenage years to cope with stress. By the time I was 13 years old I was regularly sneaking junk food and tipping the scale at over 200 pounds. I suffered from constant migraines, daily stomachaches, I had chronic fatigue, horrible cystic acne breakouts, was fuzzy-headed all day long and even suffered from memory loss. Not to mention the emotional pain from being 100+ pounds heavier than other girls my age. Being an overweight teenage girl was hard... Really, hard!
My parents did the best they could, but they were young, exhausted trying to provide a better life our family and hadn’t had healthy role models themselves to teach them how to eat healthily. They struggled daily with balancing the stress of working full time, my dad attending night school, my mom owning her own salon and caring for my sister and I. Healthy eating ended up falling last on the list of priorities. Dinner usually ended up being gulped down in the car, microwaved to death or delivered in a pizza box.
I experienced loss after loss of loved ones from health issues. I watched those I love suffer from diabetes and cancer. I was called names, rejected even by teachers and labeled the “fat kid” at my school. At night, with tears streaming down my face, I would pray for a chance to change. I felt like I had been fighting my whole life to feel good and I was just so tired of fighting.
I wanted to change— but didn’t know how.Years later, I look back and think that my pain could have been prevented with a few healthy lifestyle changes. My efforts to bring Hope for Health to the world go beyond our four walls, beyond selling products and beyond even me. It’s about creating a movement of healthy living in our country’s families, in our schools and as a nation. Whether through speaking in elementary schools on anti-bullying, offering webinars to educate parents, or partnering with local philanthropic efforts, my motivation comes from spreading the good news to the world that we can all be healthy!
Both in education materials and in time, I’m doing my best to make a difference in our community... And I invite YOU to join me!