Help Her Change the WorldSeptember 10, 2012
There is no greater feeling than being on the verge of death and surviving the impossible. The moment I knew I wanted to change the world was when I became the recipient of a heart and kidney transplant at age 12.
As I began to recover from my procedures, I came to the realization that I received a second chance at life. The choice was mine to either seize this opportunity at a new beginning or to waste it. I chose life. Public service, activism, and advocacy give me life.
I am a survivor who has spent a large portion of my childhood fighting for my life. I am a fighter who chooses to also fight for the rights of others. I knew my public service work was making a difference when I received a call from the producers at Black Entertainment Television. BET hosts the annual Black Girls Rock Award Special, which honors celebrities and women of color by highlighting their accomplishments. For my work as a public servant, I was nominated for the BET Black Girls Rock Making a Difference Award — an honor that features a $2,500 grant from Crest, an appearance on the internationally televised BET Black Girls Rock special, and a trip to New York.
Coincidentally, I received this call as I was making plans to celebrate a major milestone. This year marks the 10th anniversary of my life-saving organ transplants. You can join me in my celebration of life by voting for my nonprofit to receive the BET Black Girls Rock Making a Difference Award. You can vote now through September 18.
As a result of my medical journey, I created my own nonprofit organization called Sacred Hearts Children’s Transplant Foundation. The foundation has distributed hundreds of teddy bears to sick children and has worked to raise awareness about organ donation registries. Our efforts did not stop there. We expanded our outreach through the formation of a second nonprofit organization, Project ASCEND. Project ASCEND has assisted in the creation of a teen mentorship camp, which reaches more than 100 low-income girls in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. My nonprofit endeavors give me the opportunity to shape the world. You can help me continue this work and bring change to my community by voting now and voting often.
This post was written by former AAUW National Student Advisory Council member Ola Ojewumi.