It wasn’t until we were wrapping up a conversation at coffee. I had been in Raleigh two years, but had never heard of the Tammy Lynn Center. After our introductions and learning more about the Center’s work, something occurred to me: I realized that I, too, had a deep and personal connection with TLC’s mission. I was compelled to share my story with Catherine, whom I had recently met at a networking event.
Growing up with my cousin Jeremy was anything but normal. It was however, our normal. He was several years older than me, but I can remember holding him like a baby when I was around three years old. He had been born with a profound developmental disability that required round-the-clock care. My aunt worked as a caregiver at her home so she could be by Jeremy’s side every moment of the day. You would never hear her or the family say, “What are we going to do this weekend?” Getting up and going anywhere, or doing anything unplanned simply wasn’t possible. When I think of his primary caregivers, my aunt Lisa, my mother, Amanda, a single-mother and nurse of 40 years, and my cousin Courtney whom is only a year younger than me – I reflect on the sacrifices they made throughout their entire lives so Jeremy received the very best care. They are the reasons he lived 27 happy years.
After touring the Center and meeting the team, I fell in love. I knew I was where I was meant to be. My family did not have an option like Tammy Lynn Center in my home state of Virginia. I can only imagine how all of our lives would have been different had a place like TLC existed.
What’s truly unique and special about the Tammy Lynn family are those who connect us. They are the reasons why we’re in this together. The reasons why we do what we do. For me, their names are Jeremy, Lisa, Amanda, and Courtney. This list continues to grow by the day.
When I think of Tammy Lynn and the individuals and families we serve, what immediately comes to mind is the never-ending love, laughs, and smiles seen and heard in every residence, classroom, hallway and office. In the weeks and months ahead, my hope is to get to know you and the names and faces behind your “why.” I welcome the opportunity to exchange stories and explore ways we can work together to deliver the very best for our reasons why.
Hugs and High Fives,