Photography by Lasting Memories by Marjean.
Meet Sarah. She is Beauty Revived.
I suppose there are many ways to describe me, but this about sums it up: I’m a lover of life. I love life so much, in fact, that I couldn’t wait to begin it. I was born ten weeks prematurely, and as a result, I have a disability called cerebral palsy.
Cerebral palsy is the most common motor disability among children in the United States. Each individual’s experience with cerebral palsy is unique, and each varies in severity. It is almost impossible to compare two people who have it because each have different circumstances and needs. My cerebral palsy is very mild and only affects both of my legs. Some people who have cerebral palsy have limited use of all four of their limbs and are completely unable to walk. I consider myself very lucky and blessed, even though my life becomes difficult at times.
When I was in first grade, I had a rhizotomy on my spinal chord. My brain was sending too many stimulating messages to my muscles, so my surgeons cut some of the nerves in my spinal canal. Then, in sixth grade, I had an osteotomy. My femurs were rotated inward too far, so the doctors cut through the bones, rotated them back out to the correct position, and fastened them in place with six screws and a metal plate. Both surgeries were extremely painful. Afterward, I spent time in a wheelchair and even more time in physical therapy. Besides the surgeries, I’ve been to many doctors appointments, had botox injections, and worn leg braces.
I’ve heard the phrase “suffers from cerebral palsy” so many times throughout my life, and I dislike it. Yes, cerebral palsy is difficult to deal with, especially on a day-to-day basis. I struggle with simple tasks that no one else thinks twice about doing, like going down stairs or taking off my shoes. Yet, “suffering” is an incorrect term to describe my experience. Cerebral palsy has blessed my life in several unexpected ways. It has shown me how unbelievably good and accepting others can be, how strong you can be if you persevere, and how life is truly beautiful if you are willing to look hard enough.
I am passionate about many things in life. Music has been a prominent and inspiring influence for as long as I can remember. I love playing the guitar and singing along to the radio. I am a proud member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Most of all, however, I love to serve people.
This past summer, I started volunteering weekly at a local children’s museum. I love seeing the happiness in children’s faces as they use their imagination to create stories and other fantastical worlds.
Additionally, I have always loved to write. There’s something magical about the way you can string words together and create something that inspires people and transports them into a different world. I wrote and published a book called The Rose Garden. It is a fairytale, a genre that I have loved since childhood. Everyone wants a personal, happily ever after, and I believe that fairytales instill hope for happiness. I think that the idea of having magical powers enchants people, especially children. I think that everyone is born with a magical power: kindness! It has the power to change the world, and we all have it inside of us.
I wrote The Rose Garden because I knew I wanted to serve and help children like me. I have benefitted from several hospitals over the years. It is only through the kindness and hard work of several doctors, physical therapists and surgeons that I have reached my current position in life. Because of this, I wanted to donate the proceeds from the sale of my books to the hospitals that have changed my life. The kids being treated in these hospitals often struggle in several areas of their lives, and some are in the hospital for extended periods of time. Despite this, they see the world with an unwavering optimism and make a conscious choice to persevere, even when it feels like all hope is lost. One thing I’ve learned through having cerebral palsy is that hope is never lost as long as you get back on your feet.
Life isn’t like a fairytale. There is no “happily ever after;” there is no point in life that you pass in order to be happy for the rest of your story. Happiness is found throughout the pages, amidst the sorrows and doubts that accompany the trials of your life. Hardship is not the absence of joy; the two can coincide. Here’s the secret to being happy: you simply must look for ways that you can be kind.
About the Photographer
Marjean Jolley is the owner of Lasting Memories by Marjean. I have been a photographer for 10 years. I love everything about behind my camera but my favorite is shooting weddings and individuals, mainly seniors. I love the color pink, reading, chocolate, traveling and life. I am so honored to be part of Beauty Revived.