Our Blog

Time to Cure the Stigma

“Happy birthday. I love you,” she said in a barely discernable whisper, mustering every bit of strength she had left. I was turning 14 years old and my mom had been a breast cancer survivor. However, the dreaded disease came back with a vengeance and on April 20, 1992 I visited my mom in her hospital room for what turned out to be the last time. I was too young to fully comprehend the severity of the situation. Nonetheless, a mere 2 days later I was woken early to the news that my mom had passed away. A few weeks...

A Personal Story from a TBI Survivor

In honor of Brain Injury Awareness Month, we are thrilled to share the personal survival story of a local veteran who is one of Empower Tennessee’s Empowered Ladies peer support group members. My name is Susan Kelly Sanders and I go by Kelly. I am a 56-year-young military veteran. My adventure began in 1981 when I joined the Alabama Army National Guard while in the ROTC at Middle Tennessee State University.  Funny sidebar, I joined the ROTC program because it offered a free trip to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Louisiana to “march” in a few parades. Despite my initial motivation,...

It’s Never Too Late To Advocate

Valentine’s Day was especially sweet for many Tennesseans this year as it was the same day as Disability Day on the Hill. DDH 2018 connected self-advocates and advocates across the state with their elected officials at the newly renovated Cordell Hull building. Despite the dreary weather outside, inside collaborative spirits were high and many individuals with disabilities, including 6 members of our Empowered Ladies* peer support group participated in the day’s events, met with representatives, and provided encouragement to each other. Love was definitely in the air last Wednesday. These women demonstrated respect for themselves, passion on issues of their...

Be Your Own Valentine: The Importance of Self-Care

Since February 14th is Valentine’s Day, we at Empower Tennessee thought it would be a timely month to examine self-care, which is defined by Britain’s Department of Health as “the care taken by individuals towards their own health and well-being-including the care extended to the family and the community. The definition is broad and encompasses the actions required for people to maintain good physical and mental health, to meet their social and psychological needs and prevent illness or accidents” (Amisha Patel, Hemant Patel 1). The concept of self-care, which has been reduced to a buzzword in recent years, is intuitive...

Everybody Needs Healthcare: Stay Informed and Choose Wisely

Healthcare has been such a hot topic over the past few years, it is difficult to distinguish fact from rhetoric. There are about as many views as to what systems, policies, and practices are best for individuals with disabilities as there are people. Regardless on where you stand on politics and issues, we can all agree on one thing: everybody needs healthcare. Having choices and access to them is vital in maintaining one’s independence. However, exploring one’s options, or existing insurance status, and understanding how proposed legislation may impact your current or potential healthcare coverage can be challenging. Because each...

Art Can (and should) Transcend Disabilities

Attending the Frist Center for the Visual Arts family festival on November 12, 2017 was more than just a free fun event to share with my husband and children. It was a chance to demonstrate to my loved ones, and myself, how art can and should be experienced by all. Since substantially losing sight and receiving rehabilitation services, I have set a personal goal annually – goals specifically pertaining to independent living skills development and embracing life as a person with a disability. My 2017 goal was: Find new ways to enjoy art again. Throughout the year I have been challenging...