A LITTLE BIT ABOUT ME
I am the mother of two daughters, married to my high school sweetheart for over 30 years. I lived on the mainland United States until 2008 when I took a leap of faith with my family and moved to the Hawaiian Islands where I lived for 10 years.
In September, 2018, my life was turned upside-down when I nearly died from septic shock because of a small, infected cut on my thumb. Because of sepsis, I now live as a double below-knee amputee who also lost the tips of most of my fingers.
When I became ill, I was unaware of the signs and symptoms of sepsis, despite knowing several people who had nearly died from it. I have made it my mission to do everything I can to prevent others from experiencing what I went through. 20% of deaths worldwide are caused by sepsis, yet few people have heard of it and even fewer can identify the signs and symptoms!
I joined the Board of Directors of Sepsis Alliance 18 months after my batte with septic shock. I now share my story to highlight this important public health crisis. I was described in a recent magazine article as “one of the nation’s leading advocates for sepsis awareness”.
I have turned the worst thing that had ever happened in my life into an opportunity to save lives and limbs. Hundreds of thousands of people have seen me speak or have read articles about my sepsis experience. I have impacted medical policy in the United States by speaking to policy makers in Washington DC.
I was the keynote speaker at the inaugural Sepsis Alliance Summit in 2020, on the two year anniversary of the beginning of my battle with sepsis. The video of my talk, which Sepsis Alliance posted online, has had nearly 240,000 views. On my TikTok page, which I started eight months ago, I have built a community of over 44,000 followers and have over 3.3 million views of my educational videos!
I have shared my story with many organizations, including The World Sepsis Congress, The New York State Office for the Aging, BioMerieux, Edwards Lifesciences, T2 Biosystems, and Microsoft to name a few. I also supported the successful re-endorsement of the SEP-1 process measure at the National Quality Forum Patient Safety Standing Committee Meeting because SEP-1 compliance highlights early recognition and is associated with lower 30 day mortality.
In addition to my work with Sepsis Alliance, I volunteer with the Amputee Coalition as a Lead Advocate as well as a Certified Peer Visitor. I compliment this work with my significant social media presence in order to highlight sepsis and disability awareness.
I have also recently begun working as a model and actor representing limb-loss. I have modeled apparel for a well-known band and acted in a promotional video and modeling shoot for a Seattle-based power bike company (coming soon). I’m actively seeking new opportunities to represent disability in advertising and to share my inspirational story as a speaker.
If you have read this far you are among the first people to know that I have committed to publish a book of my sepsis story next September in honor of Sepsis Awareness Month.