I am the product of my village. When I received the AHA Survivor Advocate of the Year award in DC years ago, I knew it was really not about me.
My advocacy story started with my mother who encouraged all four of her children to not let adversity stop their dreams and to help others along the way. I learned the power of resolve in the face of limitations from my brother Darrell; of working smart (not hard) from my brother Rodney; and to stay focused on family from both my younger brother Willie and Cousin Charles. My daughter, Ilana, has taught me the benefits of (sometimes) being silly and enjoying the moment.
These lessons have been honed and sharpened by AHA/YTC staff and volunteers through trainings and practice sessions. How could I begin to thank Sloan Garner, Betsy Vetter, Kacie Kennedy all the other AHA/YTC folks who have put time, trust, and support in my success as an advocate and as a person. Every survivor, caretaker, and medical provider I meet leaves their mark and positive influence on my resolve to continue volunteering. I can’t run cross country, but I can effect change that reaches beyond my community one volunteer effort at a time.
To all those named and unnamed members of my ‘village’ I say thank you and I will continue to honor you by using my abilities to help others.
Yolanda Dickerson, You’re the Cure Survivor-Volunteer-Advocate