Jefferson Award Winner: Jenny Addis - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Jefferson Award Winner: Jenny Addis

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Jenny Addis says, "I closed my eyes for just a moment and my life changed forever."

Jenny  knows about life changing moments. On March 16th of 1997--she and two others climbed into a truck with her boyfriend..who'd been drinking.

They crashed near her hometown of Muskego-- throwing Jenny from the cab of the truck.

She recalls the moments after the crash as searchers tried to find her.  "I couldn't understand why they didn't hear me.. I wasn't even sure if I was alive at that moment."

Rescuers eventually found Jenny and flew her to a Milwaukee hospital.  There she learned she was quadriplegic.  Paralyzed from the chest down.

She would spend the next two months in the hospital preparing for her new life using a wheelchair. "I chose to fight..I wanted to get back to normal.  What is normal? To me this is normal. I am a quadriplegic and a thriving one at that."

Jenny's new normal became talking with students and community groups about the dangers of drinking and driving, letting go of unhealthy relationships and overcoming life's challenges. "I will be that one person who tries to break down barrier. To make life better for all of us, while we're here."

The  themes became her platform when she entered and won the Ms. Wheelchair Wisconsin competition in 2000.

In 2011 -- she accepted this accessibility award from the National Park Service for her fundraising efforts to make the Bohn Lake Hiking Trail a reality.  Allowing people of all abilities to enjoy Wisconsin's Ice Age Trail.

Fashion shows are also a passion for Jenny--and she continues sharing her inspirational message with others in-person, and through her web site which says-- "This is how I roll".  Jenny's is proud of how far she has come in the past 15 years and looks to reach out to even more people in the future.

"If I can change just one person's life it will be worth being in a wheelchair."Words from a woman who's life changed dramatically and now inspires others with her courage.   

 

 

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