I want to say thank you. Thank you to everyone who has read my blog, thank you to everyone who has sent me words of encouragement, and thank you to those of you who have supported me through some of the hardest years of my life.
Growing up not knowing anyone with Neurofibromatosis was extremely hard. I was the only person living in my family with the condition, which left me feeling incredibly alone. I would never wish my condition on another person, but when I was younger I wished with all my heart that someone close to me would have the condition, just so that I could have someone to talk to.
My parents were always there for me, don't get me wrong. I had one of the strongest support systems out there. My parents were always there to hold my hand, to pick up the pieces when I had a crummy day, and to continuously cheer me on. They were there for test results, procedures, and hospital admissions. But I always wanted something more. I wanted a genuine connection with someone who knew exactly what I was going through.
Lucky enough for me, I live in a time where social media is a prominent feature in most peoples lives. For most people. social media helps you stay in contact with people you may otherwise not talk to, but for me it offered a place of sanctuary. Online, I found dozens of people living with NF. I found people who were going through things that I had been through. They offered words of advice, shared their stories, but most importantly, shared hope. Although much of the advice that was given to me from strangers on the internet was almost identical to the advice that my family gave me, something was different about it. It came from a direct source.
After connecting with so many people through avenues such as Facebook, I decided that I wanted to provide a place where people can share stories, ask questions and inspire others to be the best version of themselves. After much pondering, I decided that I wanted to start a blog, and tada.... Courtney's Column was born! I never once thought that my posts would receive over 20,000 views, but as of last week that goal was met! My posts (and my guest writers posts) have been viewed all over the world, including places such as Japan, Spain, Chile and Australia.
So again, I want to say thank you. Thank you to my adopted NF family. Thank you to the incredible support system I have developed online, and in person. Thank you to everyone who has accepted me for who I truly am. Thank you for not only giving me a voice, but for also listening to it. Without the amazing support network I have developed over the years I really don't know where I would be today.
I challenge each and everyone of you today to speak up, use your voice. Share what you are passionate about! Believe me, you just might be surprised by the results :)