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Monday, October 1, 2012

1000 Challenge Community Member Spotlight: Sarah Phillips

 1000 Challenge Community Member Spotlight.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my pleasure to introduce to you our first ever 1000 Challenge Community Member spotlight. 

Her name is Sarah Phillips and her story is a remarkable one.  Before we get to that I would like to encourage more of you to share your stories to be featured here.  I truly believe we can all learn from, motivate and inspire one another. 

My vision for the Member Spotlight is for it to be a ripple effect to the rest of the world.  Sarah talks about the ripple effect in her story.  So with that, I would like to introduce you all to Sarah Phillips:

Hi Everyone

I am so honored that Jesse has asked me to be in his Special Member's Spotlight!! He inspires us all so much. 

I was diagnosed with a serious and progressive heart and lung condition (Pulmonary Hypertension/Eisenmenger's Syndrome) when I was born.  This means I am cyanosed (blue) as my respiratory system does not convert oxygen very well.  I have been in and out of hospital my whole life and I unfortunately have seen one of my friends and then my husband pass away soon after our wedding from the same disease as I have.  When I was finally putting my life back together after Matt died, I was told that I needed a heart-lung transplant.  I was terrified and devastated at the same time, as it was my greatest fear for over ten years that I would get sick enough to need a transplant.  It was like a black cloud hovering in the distance and getting closer every year as I have slowly stopped being able to do things like driving and grocery shopping.

I lashed out at the Doctors and my friends and family because I was in such a bad state.  I felt like I had lost everything and I had to move back in with my parents.  I was so angry that my life had turned out this way - this was NOT what I wanted and NOT what I expected.  I had no control over my  (Cont from Newsletter)
anger and I hated myself for it.  It was like I was standing beside myself watching myself behave this way and I was horrified I was treating everyone so badly around me that loved and cared for me.  I was so ashamed of myself and I didn't know how to stop.
When I was going through this terrible time, I would look in on facebook and see an inspirational quote or an accomplished goal from Jesse which would sometimes be the only thing that made me smile that day (my fave was the video of him getting a nose wax LOL).  The fact that he was living what he quoted everyday really helped me believe that I could change things around, as well as seeing other people of all different ages and life situations posting photos of the goals they had accomplished.  I started setting small goals and accomplishing them.  I started thinking differently to the situation I was in.  Instead of thinking "I have to live with my parents when all my friends are married, have houses, businesses and children and I haven't really accomplished that much" - to - "I am so lucky I have parents who love me so much and that can give me the 24 hour care I need just to live''. To my amazement, my entire life began to turn around!!  My counsellor, my Doctors, my family and my friends were just as scared as I was but they never lost faith in me, even when I lost it within myself.

I am very thankful for the day I realised that if I didn't stop being afraid of transplant I was going to die.  I would die because I was afraid to even try or believe that I could do it.  That I would NEVER get an answer to "Why me?" because there is no answer.  That everyone has things in their lives that they don't want or expect to happen to them.  That my life could be the complete opposite - the Doctors could have easily told me that I was not a candidate for transplant, which happens to a lot of patients through no fault of their own. 
So thank you Jesse for your dedication and passion to help others change their lives.  In one of your blogs you talk about the 'ripple-effect'.  That what we say and do affects people more than we know - well your words and wisdom reached me all the way in Brisbane, Australia.  I hope my story has the same ripple-effect for someone else out there who is going through a really hard time.
Now, my No. 1 goal is "To give Transplant my best shot".  This means doing everything the Doctors ask and being 100% committed to achieving the best post-transplant results I can.  I am about to go on the heart-lung transplant waiting list and I know that when I get "the call" I have done my best to get there and I will do my best to get through it.  One of the reasons I was afraid is because I have never known a different life than this I can't wait to see what true health feels like.  I hope I will be fortunate enough to receive such a generous, beautiful, amazing gift.  Wish me luck!!
...and thanks to all your fans who make your facebook page SO much fun. 
Sarah Phillips
PS Some pics of me accomplishing my goals!!
1)  (I'm in the blue skirt) My goal was to go to a Taylor Swift concert, so I spoke to my Doctors about how to accomplish this without making myself sick.  With some serious planning and saving I was able to go both nights!!!

 2 & 3) I had a Twilight party for my 30th.  This goal got me through some bad days because it gave me something to focus on...and as you can see, I had a REALLY hard time enjoying this one haha!!!
3) Making notes on my exercise chart for my current transplant goal! :o)
If you would like to be considered for the 1000 Challenge Community Member of the Month please email me your story. 
Carpe Diem,


  1. Sarah, I was so moved reading your story. I've known you since we were kids and you've always been strong, warm, heaps of fun and full of beans. And now I can see how gutsy you really are. You're honesty and your courage are so inspiring. You're truly an amazing woman! Ruthie

  2. goosebumps, really. What a great Story, she is sooo strong. I take my hat off to you. I keep my fingers crossed that everything goes like the way you want it.

    A really great Choice to make her the Member of the Month. She is really an inspiration like you.