Chandra Leigh Brown: The Soul of a Survivor
Chandra Leigh Brown is a lady who lives a existence of dedication and perseverance as she fights for the rights of the disabled, and differently-abled. Following a horrendous vehicle accident the place she used to be ejected via her car’s window, Brown suffered a couple of fractures and a extreme Genius injury. Left on lifestyles support, she was once now not predicted to live. But it was once whilst she used to be nevertheless unconscious that Brown says that she was once decided to “go back” due to the fact she nevertheless had matters to do. Chandra subsequently achieved three years of bodily and cognitive remedy (which covered relearning the alphabet and how to tie her shoes). While it is actual that she has no longer entirely recovered from the extent of her injuries, she speaks with a clear, calm, and upbeat voice, and enjoys working out three days a week. Her non-public nature consists of a heightened feel of humor, and an infectious smile and laugh.
Passionate and determinedly inspirational, Chandra Brown is dedicated to serving drawback formative years and women. She is additionally an recommend for social exchange having adopted a get to the bottom of to assist disabled people global with their plight for dwelling in a extra equitable society.
I sat down with the Chandra Leigh Brown and interviewed her as section of the OnTheMove Interview series. We talked about her accident, her avenue to recovery, how she grew to be the International Chairperson for Disabled Individuals for the Oprah Winfrey for Nobel Peace Prize Fan club, and her imaginative and prescient for her future.
Fran Briggs: Good morning, Chandra. Thank you for taking the time to communicate with us today.
Chandra Brown: You are welcome. And, thank you for inviting me.
FB: May 3, 2002. Would you temporarily describe the activities of that day simply prior to your accident?
CB: I woke up with the thinking of going to go to my mother. I was once residing in Jonesboro, Georgia and my mom lived in Mableton, Georgia; it is about a forty minute drive. I went to the gasoline station to fill up my vehicle and proceeded out of the parking lot after I stuffed the tank. And, that is all I remember.
FB: Has your spirit modified because the day of the accident? If so, how?
CB: My spirit has modified a exceptional deal. I’ve continually believed in God, however I am happier. I smile greater and I am greater humble. I sense desirable about existence and about dwelling and carrying out God’s divine plan. I have been awaken through God’s love and power! Today, I sense God’s Hand on me — preserving me and helping me on my journey.
FB: Many human beings really provide up after experiencing a traumatic, life-altering match such as you did. Was there ever a time when you felt like giving up after the accident?
CB: Give up? No. I would constantly have to supply my nice — some thing the state of affairs may additionally be. I’ve been an athlete most of my life. I performed basketball, performed a little tennis, and I ran to remain in shape. Since my accident, I have taken what I discovered from sports, and utilized it to my existence residing with a talent injury. That is the conditioning and self-discipline part. Fall down 7 times; get returned up eight times. No pain, no gain. I should in no way provide up. I thrive on challenges. Giving up has by no means been an alternative of mine. I do get tired, frustrated, and indignant with myself. My existence is so a lot exceptional from what it used to be — it does get frustrating. There are instances when I have to take lengthy breaks to regroup with myself. After that, it is time to get the job done. I have realized to go at my very own pace.
FB: You are the International Chairperson for Disabled Individuals for the Oprah Winfrey for Nobel Peace Prize Fan Club. How did that come about?
CB: I used to be on the laptop getting misplaced one day (laugh) and I got here throughout Mr. Rocky Twyman’s website, oprah4peaceprize.org/ I signed the petition and instructed Rocky my story. Rocky emailed me lower back after traveling my net site, ([http://www.thesoulofasurvivor.org//]) and he requested me to end up The International Chairperson for Disabled Individuals! How ought to I decline such an honor? I informed my partner, Janet about it and she has joined the crusade. We have been canvassing on behalf of Oprah. We have long gone to The Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia to promote Oprah for the Nobel Peace Prize and I gave my testimony. There was once additionally an article that was once posted about us in the paper whilst we have been at The Carter Center.
FB: What are some of the milestones that you have finished as an recommend for the disabled and challenged?
CB: A talking engagement — at Shepherd—Kendra Moon, at Shepherd Center. It’s a rehabilitation middle for Genius injured and spinal wire patients. They observed out about my internet site and requested me to talk to a crew of their clients. I choose to exhibit them that, even with this challenge, we can nonetheless stay a productive life. My 2nd milestone used to be when I grew to be a Court Appointed Child Advocate Worker (CASA). I work with abused and left out young people in foster care. I might also be a littler slower now, however I nonetheless have a voice for others. It’s now not simply all about me.
I instructed my supervisor, about my intelligence injury. To my surprise, she instructed me that she already knew. You see, when I at first contacted her about volunteering, I forgot to dispose of my internet site data at the backside of my electronic mail correspondence to her. I did not prefer to expose my intelligence harm due to the fact I have been discriminated in the previous and now not given a hazard to show what I used to be succesful of performing positive job functions. She simply saw some thing absolutely exceptional about me and depended on me with one of the hardest case masses my (training) category had.
FB: What is/was the most effective issue that you both skilled or discovered?
CB: Since the accident, I have skilled the proper realness of God. I have constantly been a believer. However, whilst on existence support, God visited me. I advised God that I was once no longer equipped to go.
FB: Chandra, what would you say to any one who is struggling with their exceptional capabilities to the factor where,
they simply desire to supply up?
CB: I would strive to exhibit them the significance of by no means giving up — anything the incapacity and/or project is, in no way provide up. I would inform them that I comprehend that our physique is no longer the equal as it use to be. I would inform them memories about me and how I start to giggle at myself at times. I would additionally give an explanation for to them that there are instances when I get annoyed (we want to comprehend the fact and have actual existence memories to go by) at myself, and how that power has used up the relaxation of my strength for that day to strive to enhance and/or work on bettering myself. We do not want to wallow in self pity. We will get precisely the place self pity has taken others like us; and it truly is no where. I would additionally supply existence examples of latest heroes.
Exercise is very important. My private trainer, William Jenkins, has me on a application to assist me lose the 35 plus kilos I received due to the fact of the meds I used to be on. My reminiscence is a good deal greater clearer and more suitable due to the fact of what I am doing. And, I’m inserting good, clean fruits and veggies into my body. We ought to be made conscious of what we do with our body. Doing exercising will exchange your tune about giving up.
FB: What would you say has been your largest surprise?
CB: My largest shock was once after my accident one of my cousins got here to see me at home. She used to be a straight A/B pupil with goals to turn out to be a lawyer, however obtained hooked on tablets and by no means made her way again home. She has kids however stays away from her household months and on occasion years at a time. So, it used to be a blessing and shock for me to see her. I recognize that her coronary heart ability well, she simply has a problem.
FB: What new matters have you discovered about existence as the end result of the accident?
CB: The first issue I did after my accident, once I understood what took place to me is that I had a discuss with myself and I advised myself that I may want to nevertheless do it. I had to exchange and exchange and trade my software of what my existence used to be. I had to make matters as easy as viable for me. I located out that there may be energy in simplicity, meaning, the greater I maintain matters simple; it might not complicate my capability to get the challenge carried out correctly. This offers me the freedom now not to be constrained if I simply hold my assignment and existence simple.
FB: You have a effective internet site which you use as a device to embrace, enlighten, and motivate disabled and challenged individuals, everywhere. What has been the prevalent reception from your visitors?
CB: Thank you. I have acquired nothing however reward about the site. I suppose the tab, “People Are Talking,” is the most stunning web page to me on the net site. It pumps me up on my tough days. My late, first-class friend’s daughter is the very first one to make a remark and then there are all sorts of exceptional humans ranging in exclusive a long time from throughout the US. The reception has been heat and the human beings are excited about this net web page turning into bigger. It’s no longer pretty a yr old. It will be a 12 months historic September twenty second of this yr (2006).
FB: You have such a fantastically effective and heat spirit. To whom, or to what do you attribute it to?
CB: Again, thanks. My grandmother, Mildred E. Smith has such a stunning mindset about existence and her relationship with God. My grandmother nevertheless receives on her knees each and every night time to say her prayers, She’s 86 years old. No remember what is going on in my grandmother’s life, she stays a lady. I have by no means considered her lose face. My late grandfather, Carl D. Smith, Jr., my late first-rate friend, Annetter E. Cleveland. My grandfather died of most cancers and Annetter died of breast cancer. I had watched each of these two human beings have a lengthy difficult battle with their illnesses. The solely time they complained about the ache was once chemo and at the stop of there’re combat with the disease.
I am instructed that Annetter would come to go to me whilst I used to be on existence assist and no longer speak to anyone, simply come in with me talk, sing and pray. No one knew at that time simply how unwell Annetter was. I am continuously grateful for having such a exceptional friendship of over 20 years. Annetter’s son-in-law, Stephen Nuttall (owner of – http://www.soulphoto.net//) is the man who put up my website online because, he knew that Annetter would have desired him to assist me.
FB: Chandra, What recommendation would you supply to any person who is questioning of getting concerned in working with the differently-abled and challenged, however have no concept the place to start?
CB: Get skilled on the subject. Two humans might also have the identical thing, it can now and again have an effect on one character distinct from some other person. Ask questions. The most unintelligent element is no longer asking a question. Go to the doctors, their assistants, go to the library and do research. Go to the sanatorium and ask to do volunteer work. You can additionally get on the Internet and discover incredible new matters to learn.
FB: There is a web page on your web page the place you specific what you are grateful for. Have you constantly had such an mind-set for gratitude?
CB: I have continually been grateful to God. Since my accident, my complete mindset has been extra profound. I simply favor others to trap on, I favor it to end up so contagious. God is good! I recognize that God has his fingers on me. How else can you describe me? God has allowed me to come returned to earth to be a strong, tremendous voice for the challenged/disabled, the abused, the overlooked and sexually abused children.
FB: You’re beaming with positivity; is your fantastic electricity some thing that you warfare with sustaining?
CB: Hmmmm… My mindset in lifestyles has usually been positive. I currently went to Emory Hospital to take a neuro-pschy exam. The physician is a certified talent damage professional who carried out the test. She stated that I am dealing with my talent damage exceptional and I can go to any job to work, and I can go to school. I am all proper the place I am in the universe today. I take delivery of my intelligence injury. That does no longer suggest that I am giving in; nor does it imply that I am giving up on what I favor to accomplish. The physician additionally mentioned that I am at an “average level” for any individual residing with a talent injury. This is the solely time I will be OK with any person calling me common (laugh)!
FB: What matters do you reflect onconsideration on unacceptable in your life?
CB: I will no longer take delivery of any terrible persons in my life. Such as people who steal, cheat, or lie. Not that I am higher than every person else. No, I am simply higher off no longer be engaged with, or intertwined with negativity in my life.
FB: Tell us, what does existence seem to be like for Chandra Leigh-Brown 5 years from now?
CB: Very quickly I will alternate my name. In the e book of Genesis, 32:28, it says, “You shall no longer be referred to as Jacob, however Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.”
I would additionally love to get my B.A. degree. I have a records in my household that the female have gotten their education. My grandmother, Mildred E. Saunders Smith. After elevating her two children, she went returned to faculty to get her degree. She is an creator of a kid’s e book and a e book on poetry. I have a cousin, Dr. Jane E. Smith, who has finished amazing work for the African-American Community and now she is the Executive Director of Center for Leadership … Civic Engagement for Spelman College. I additionally have a deceased aunt who has a college named after her, Bazoline Estelle Usher Middle School. I sincerely choose to be a member of that club. I prefer my degree. I want to exhibit myself that I can do it and exhibit others that it can be done. I prefer to lead be example-the proper way.
FB: What tasks are you working on now?
CB: The tasks I am continuously working on consist of getting my story out — from childhood to adulthood. I choose my e book to be published. I additionally favor my very own radio discuss show. I can begin off with an Internet radio discuss show. I have different initiatives I will later name. I additionally desire my very personal comedian strip which will inform about the lives of persons who have challenges/disabilities. I used to be in a sanatorium one day and Whoppi Goldberg used to be on the TV instructing teen-agers about intercourse and AIDS and different diseases. I thinking after I noticed that program, “that’s what I choose to do!” I choose to instruct folks about the one-of-a-kind challenges and disabilities. I desire to be the spokesperson.
FB: Chandra, is there a idea or concept you desired to go away our readers with?
CB: I choose readers to understand that each 15 seconds any individual in the US will have sustained a intelligence injury. That range is extra than most cancers and AIDS put together. Someone in our household will have one. We all want to be skilled about this disability. As nicely as different disabilities. Back to having a intelligence injury. There are some men and women who are ashamed of it due to the fact it is a intellectual challenge. I and I comprehend that there are others like me who are no longer ashamed of it-just happy we are alive. Just get skilled about it, due to the fact it coming to your doorstep quicker than you know.