Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Happy Halloween everybody! One of my favorite months because not only does it include my birthday(I'm now 23!), but it's a kick off to the holidays (Spooky Halloween, Yummy Thanksgiving, & Family Gathering Christmas & Hanukkah), and great weather.
Thank you for all the followers that keep coming back to see whats going on in my life. Well this week I'm really excited to fly out to La Jolla, California where I will be competing in the Challenged Athletes Triathlon where I will be riding in the cycling portion. My other teammates are also meningitis survivors that I have met before, so I am also excited to see and catch up with them again. This ride will bring new experiences that I haven't done before like riding on the coast, riding 44 miles, and also to be participating in a triathlon. All new things, but they're thrilling at the same time.
I've been working hard everyday for almost a couple of months. With the hot weather that Texas gets, it localized my training session to my stationary trainer that I use at home. But since it is October, the weather has cooled off and I have been getting on the road with my bike a lot more - Thank goodness.
My bike has done me well over the year (and hopefully many more to come), but what is also exciting is that Im starting a new field in cycling called track. Track racing is a sport usually held on specially built banked tracks or velodromes that can curve at steep angles. I'm starting this sport because when I'm in Guadalajara for the Pan American games, it will give me more opportunities to compete in different races. I'm nervous to start this new part of my career but I'm definitely excited. Not only will the sport be new, but I will also be getting a new bicycle from Bicycling Sports Shop. They've been so generous to me on my cycling adventures, that I definitely owe them a lot of gratitude. Because not only will they sponsor a new track bike, but they were the one's that gave me my red bike. And they have also generously have handed me different articles of cycling clothing from the shop - which are not cheap and neither are the bicycles. With the track bike, it's really important to be aerodynamic, so I will most likely have a carbon fiber frame, with some new wheels. They will be soo light! My current bike weighs approximately 30 lbs, but my new one will be about 15 lbs. I could literally throw it across the room because its so light.
Anyways many more opportunities are coming my way, and I will be there for the ride - no pun intended. Please stay tuned for more post that will be coming. And wish me luck in La, Jolla.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

New Update

Hello Everybody!  It's been a while since my last post, and I have so much to tell.

Looking back on this past year really does shock me.  I can't believe how far I have come since my journey in the hospital.  In my interviews, I speak of my hospital experience as a nightmare.  We went through weekly surgeries, daily wound care changes, and more.  And back then, my spirits were at an all time low.  My body went through some unbelievable changes with the obvious amputations but also, weight and hair loss.  I almost didn't recognize myself, but I knew that I was still the same person.  But sure enough we pulled through.  I knew (maybe with a little bit of encouragement) it was only going to get better, but no one knew what kind of a new adventure I was about to begin.

After the livestrong challenge I knew that cycling was something I wanted to pursue.  So my trainer, Sean Ahmadi, and I kept going with our work out regiment.  Sean has been with me since the beginnig, which was only last summer.  But this past summer, new opportunities were given to us.  My prosthetic company, OPT got me out to Oklahoma for my first time trail.  I was fully confident that I was going to do well, until I saw the course.  I described the hills like roller-coasters.  No one expected Oklahoma to be so hilly.  The road was consistent with hill after hill routine.  But sure enough I accomplished it and I felt like a million bucks.  In fact, here's a video clip. http://www.opttexas.com/index.php/multimedia/video I believe I'm the third video.
But also when we were there, we also met a few people involved with the paralympic committee based in Colorado Springs.  They were intrigued and thought that maybe I have a really good chance in succeeding, because I am a rare category.  Let me explain...  The biggest group are men, with one leg.  I'm a girl, with two legs, both my hands are impaired, and I ride a regular upright bicycle (versus recumbent bikes).  So they were excited that I was interested in the sport, and almost immediately asked me what I was doing in two weeks because the US national cycling time trail would be taking place in Georgia and they wanted me to go.  So I said yes! ha ha...  Then before we knew it, we were in Augusta, GA competing with such a huge and dynamic group of people.  It was amazing.  The ride was spectacular, and started out on the Thurmond Lake Dam at the border of Georgia and South Carolina.  What a unique opportunity, and I am so grateful to participate in this role.  When the race was over, I didn't know how well I did (considering it was pouring rain the whole time) but I came out on top and won gold in my division.  So I currently stand as a US national cycling champion.  This is something that will stay with me forever, and not that many people get this chance.  People work hard for a long time, and still don't achieve what I have.  I am blessed.  I can't believe any of this, but I will definitely sit and enjoy the ride.  No pun intended...

Well after the national's time trail, no one really knew what was next.  Everyone was wondering about the next paralympics in London 2012. But just because I won in the US nationals cycling doesn't mean I'm an automatic participant in being a part of the USA team. So then we got in contact again with the paralympic committee members that we originally met in Oklahoma.  We tried to figure what the next step would be.  Then we were told that the Pan American games are happening in guadalajara in November and that I am in the testing pool to be a part of the American team, and my chances are high. So yes, I'm nervous because this will also determine if I will be participating in London. Crazy...

Other than that I am also looking forward to the next livestrong challenge in October, but this year I will be doing 20 miles (instead of last year's 12 miles).  I'm excited to participate in that but I will also endure the challenged athlete triathlon in La Jolla, California where I will ride 44 miles.  The most yet, and it makes me very nervous.  Even though, I'm slightly scared, I know I will succeeded and I can't wait to have the feeling of accomplishment.

It's been a crazy journey and I can't believe how far I have come.  In my interviews I like to comment, " in 2008 I got sick, in 2009 I learned how to walk, in 2010 I got on a bike, in 2011 I am a nationally acclaimed cyclist, and hopefully in 2012 I can be a world champion."  Wow.  Look at what my life has turned to.  Unbelievable.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

new article


Saturday, November 6, 2010


hello viewers!!

I thought I should tell everyone about my wonderful month of October(and now November), and how significant it was to me! As most people know, I started training for my bike in June, where I met Sean Ahmadi, my trainer. Him and I met atleast twice a week, where we focused on strengthening my legs by starting off on a stationed bike for 5-10 minutes, then go to the floor to stretch out my legs, work on my stomach, then up nd using the lat pull downs, and more biking. But never on my actual bike, on the road until Sean thought I was ready. And I agreed. But as the months kept going, I wanted to get on the road with my bike even more. Then my wish came true, right before my birthday.
My birthday is October forth, and it was a monday this year, but the weekend before Sean and I went on our first ride. Sean and I were both nervous; But, I think Sean was more nervous. We were worried about how to push off and stop, or how to brake, etc. But we started off with him holding my bike as I got on, and then he would do the whole "dad thing," by holding the bike as we started going and he let me go when I was ready. It was cute. haha. But we pushed off, and Sean got his bike to catch up with me. Man, what a great moment that was. After all this time, it was so amazing to feel the wind on my face, blowing by my ears, and it was great to be one with the moving scene. To write what I felt at that moment, is hard to describe. Sean even pulled out his iphone to record me, and in it, I was just smiling. Couldn't even talk. He asked how it felt, and I just smiled, opened my mouth but couldn't say anything. and just laughed. What a great moment.
Then how we stop, sean goes a head of me to get off his bike, and as I would slow down, Sean would grab the bike to stop me. He is great. I cant believe how wonderfully well this has all gone for me. I cant believe I've gotten to this point. One year ago, I was barley walking on my own yet. And if someone told me that this is what I was going a year from then, Im not sure if I would of believed them. so, yeah! yahoo! I'm proud of myself! yippie!
So on my second ride, we worked on braking, which made me nervous. Then we worked on shifting gears, on my third visit. And by this point I'm riding 4 miles per ride. I impressed myself. By the 4th ride, I was riding about 8 miles at the veloway. This entire time was at the veloway, and for those who are unfamiliar, its a place for cyclists, and roller blade/skaters to go and do a few laps. The entire course is three miles long and no runners or dogs are allowed. It's really interesting. Then possibly my 5th ride I went on South mo pac, where cars are going 60-70 mph and I rode with Sean, riding about 8 miles.
Then by my 6th ride I rode 10 miles at the livestrong challenge on October 24. I couldnt believe it. There I rode with 3,000 other cyclists. I couldnt believe it. There I was not only accompanied by Sean, but also Aaron Foreman, Greg Lakompski*, Carlos Garcia, and my cousin Zeke Silva. We called Zeke to see if he would like to ride, and he accepted and rode the 10 miles with me. Aaron rode 65 miles, Greg and Carlos rode the 90 miler. UNBELIEVABLE. If you are unfamiliar with these people, check out my earlier post. Carlos, an above the knee amputee, just started riding a year ago only riding 10 miles, and now did 90 miles. holy poop. I think I can do that. Atleast at some point.
Anyways, this all happened in October. My first ride was the first weekend, and then three weeks later I was at livestrong riding 10 miles. What an accomplishment. I cant wait to see what happens next year. Thanks to those who keep reading, sorry I haven't been active on blogging. But I've been so busy with school. It's been the hardest yet. 4 more weeks til school is over, and I cant wait.
Until next time. stay posted..

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

my new chapter in my life

Hey everyone(if there are ppl still reading, since its been so long),
I just wanted to update you guys on what's been going on with my life. Its the summer time, and the sun couldn't shine any harder in Texas, for it seems to be a pretty sweaty one. During this time I am enrolled for a summer course at ACC taking biology. I'm half way done and its been really exciting, actually not really. Other than that, I wanted to discuss with you guys my new chapter in my life, cycling. Before I got sick, my Bike and I were really close. We would biked 10 blocks to school everyday(never once took the bus or my car), go to my friends in west campus, go to HEB, go to epoch coffee to study, and any other place our peddles would take us. But once I got sick, and went through the whole realization that I would have my legs amputated, my hope to ever ride again, was gone.

But since then, I have met pretty incredible people that have motivated me and inspired me to get back up on that bike, and told me that it was possible to ride again. My first bike enthusiast was Bob Whitford, aka 1 armed Bob. I met him as my occupational therapist in out patient rehab. He is a para olympian in cycling, and is a very handy man. The next enthusiast was my prostitist(leg conformist), Aaron Foreman, he is a completely abled body but rides road bikes all over austin and does marathons all over the country and more! Aaron has just finished up my swim legs, but his next big project are my cycling legs which I am is so excited to have. Enthusiast #3 is Carlos Garcia. Carlos had cancer in his leg, and faced an above knee leg amputation a few years ago. Carlos is only older than me by a few years, and just graduated from St. ed's in kinesiology and is going to prosthetic school to eventually join Aaron and his prosthetic company. It was really exciting to meet Carlos, because not only is he very similar in age and that we both faced amputations, but he is also riding his bike again. Carlos is also apart of the livestrong team, and rides for them a lot. Okay, there are 3 more people to introduce! #4 is Chris Carter. Carter is from the bike sports shop off S Lamar, and is willing to donate a bike to me!!! maybe not fully, but still, I will be getting a great discount. I just met Carter a few weeks ago, but I can tell that its only the beginning. He plans to help me and making my bike 100% Jamie adaptable, for we are looking at different brakes, and shifters, and peddles that are accessible for me to use. Did I mention my bike is red? It's beautiful. I haven't brought it home with me yet, but I cant wait. Person #5 is Greg Lanier. Greg is a patient of Aaron's as well, for he has been a below the knee amputee for many years but rides his bike all the time. Aaron, Greg, and Carlos all ride together from time to time, and I cant wait to join them for future rides. Okay the last person is Sean Ahmadi, and he is my trainer. Sean is going to help me strengthen my core and legs for my future in cycling. I have only worked out with him once, but I hope to keep training for a long time.

Okay, you have now met my six people Bob, Aaron, Carlos, Greg, Carter, and Sean. Seems like an awesome beyond awesome team that I got behind me. I cant wait for my future to unfold. I know in October there is a livestrong challenge, and I think that that will be my goal. I heard you can do any amount of miles you want, which sounds good to me.

Okay thats about it, when it comes to updating on my new chapter in my life. Other than that, stay tuned.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


It's been quite awhile since I've written and I do miss it and miss everyone - as you can imagine my life and all that it encompasses is always quite busy. So where do I begin. Let's start with our First Annual Bluebonnet Gala - what an incredible success from every imaginable angle. Needless to say we worked our butts off. Our success always lies with the generosity of others. Errocreative (Roni's graphic design company) - Did you see what they produced? OMG - the Save the Date - the invitation (what a job-2500 invites were e sent out), our signage(huge signs), the most beautiful well designed program. The JAMIE Group will be forever grateful. Which brings me to Fastsigns - once again they pulled through with awesome signage. Lindsay Stillman was my rock and a hard worker - she helped us organize the best live and silent auction items ever. You were lucky if you attended and even luckier if you were a auction item winner. Letty Landa helped organize our volunteers. If you saw what we had to deal with well you would know we couldn't have done it without our volunteers - so a BIG shout out to ALL our volunteers. Chef Alma Alcocer-Thomas extraordinaire - the food was beyond belief and once again if you weren't there you missed an awesome array of foods. St Michael's Academy - Amy and Wade were outstanding and of course so patient. Who knew that you could bring such beauty to a high school cafeteria . Our ever so talented emcee Ron Oliveira was perfect and went an extra mile pushing the prices up on the live auction - was a lot of fun. Great Events you were also a great help and as we've said before - we couldn't have done it without you. The Schanbaum / Silva Family always my rock - what can I say. Family is so important to me and I'm blessed to have them by my side. Last but certainly not least my BEAUTIFUL children - Nicholas, KC, Roni and Jamie. God blessed me and I believe I'm the wealthiest mom in the world with all the richest my children bring me. Love them so much. I'm sure I'm forgetting people but know that everyone that we're a part of this successful event will always have a part in my heart.
Despite the fact I have not quite put the gala to rest and that there are still a few details to put a close to it, life goes on. That being said - we've been very,very busy and where do I begin. Jamie got some beautiful, awesome vacuum legs (with coverings). They look great and after a lot of tweaking (and we're still tweaking) she loves them. Every night we must charge them so that in the morning when she puts them on she presses a couple of buttons, they create a seal to her limbs and off she goes. We are however talking to Jamie's new prosthesis' - did I tell you Jamie has a new prosthesis' and we love him - about getting a pair of swim legs (look out summer) and a pair of running legs (look out runners). We are also in the beginning stages of Jamie getting a bike and this is not as easy as just getting a bike. We have to consider jamie's legs as well as her hands and how is she going to brake - look out runners.
There's a lot to talk about but I guess the most important thing I need to say is that today is World Meningitis Day and tomorrow the 25th will be Texas Meningitis Awareness Day. Jamie and I have reached out to as many people as we could. We've done interviews throughout Texas - been on talk shows - are talking and will be talking to several organizations - we did a public service announcement - next week we will be traveling to south Texas to speak and in a week we will do media outreach in Austin as well as a few events in Dallas. We've come a long way since this horrible disease took over our world but we've also come a long way in bringing awareness. We must remember that this is a vaccine preventable disease. We must not let this happen to anyone again. No child should have to endure the pain and suffering that Jamie has gone through. We must not let the past year go in vain. Help us help others and spread the word - Vaccinate.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Bluebonnet Gala was Amazing!!!

[I know it has been a very, very long while since I posted, but I’ve been quite busy. To hit the highlights, after two months of heavy networking, I’m back in Dallas (Irving, actually) working at my new job! I started on February 5 and I’m really enjoying the new gig. The hours are long, but, maybe I that’s just related to the fact that I hadn’t really been working a normal, full-time schedule since Jamie fell ill in November 2008… Man, lawyers work a lot!! I’ve also been the No. 2 in command of planning The J.A.M.I.E. Group’s first annual Bluebonnet Gala, which is our first major/formal fundraiser. Also, I ran a half-marathon on Valentine’s Day. It’s not related to my absence from this blog, but it’s still pretty neat!]

Anyway, that being said, I’m glad to be back writing about Jamie and her story. It’s been so long since I’ve written that the general theme of her story has changed. When I used to post, the posts were dedicated to the medical minutiae of her recovery from Meningococcal Septicemia and the amputations related thereto. (“Thereto”… can you tell I’m working as a lawyer again?) Now, the story has changed a bit. Certainly, a vast majority of the story pertains to Jamie’s gradual acclimation to her new life, new legs and new abilities; however, there’s a large chunk of this blog that will become dedicated to Jamie’s new mission. By acting as the main voice of The J.A.M.I.E. Group (which is an acronym for Joint Advocacy for Meningococcal Information and Education), Jamie will attempt to educate students, teachers, parents, doctors and whoever else that will listen about the dangers posed by Meningitis. Meningitis is a life-threatening disease that, considering how severe and sudden its effects are, the public and the medical community are relatively under-informed about. But, if you’ve been reading along, you’re well aware about the damage that this disease can do.

This post is about The J.A.M.I.E. Group’s Bluebonnet Gala and what an amazing night it was. Everything went as planned, and, thanks in LARGE part to some amazing volunteers, the evening was a rousing success. The event was held on Saturday, February 27 at St. Michael’s, Jamie’s high school. Upon entering the building, you’d have no idea that you were stepping into a cafeteria. The place looked magnificent. The good folks at Great Events, a party planning company whose time was donated by one of Jamie’s supporters, flew in from Chicago and they put on a great show! Anyway, people from all over the state came to Austin to celebrate Jamie’s inspiring recovery and her new mission. I’m still flabbergasted about the amount of live and silent auction items that were donated for the event. There were over 80 items, including a 1.00 carat diamond, a football signed by the 2009 Texas Football team, autographed Adrian Peterson, Devin Hester and Matt Forte jerseys, lots of artwork, a villa in Acapulco for 10 people (with staff), $1000’s of gift cards to restaurants and other stores… I could go on and on. The food, prepared by renowned local chef, Alma Alcocer-Thomas (who donated much of the expense of the food), was fantastic. Everyone left talking about the meal that she prepared. The night was hosted by Ron Oliveira, one of mom’s high school buddies who just so happens to be the main anchorman for KEYE-TV (Austin’s CBS Affiliate). He did a fantastic job, and along with our auctioneer, Steve Glink, kept the crowd entertained all night. The best part of the evening was, without a doubt, Jamie’s video and speech that she made to the crowd after dinner. As the blog readers have witnessed first-hand, Jamie has developed into a budding writer and public speaker, and she showed off those skills on Saturday. She was great up on stage.

Also, Letty Landa and Lindsay Stillman, who both volunteered their time and also arranged for other volunteers to attend, made sure that our event had the right amount of supporting staff for the set-up, the event, and the post-game. Amy and Wade from St. Michael’s were critical for us as well when it came to setting up for and cleaning up after the party. Then, there were the two bands that were perfect: The Brimmers and The Cory Cross Band. Even though they aren’t typically playing at formal galas, you’d never know it. They, like everyone else, were perfect. Needless to say, a LOT of people came together to make this work, and they did their job. It was amazing!!!

I think I can speak for the family when I say how grateful we are for the amazing and jaw-dropping amount of assistance we received from both obvious and random sources. We couldn’t have done this on our own. We don’t have the final tally on the amount of money that we raised, but I can definitely say that we exceeded my highest expectations. We’ll be doing this again next year in Dallas, so we hope to see you all there. Thank you all so much, and now, it’s back to real life for a bit! Hopefully, the next update will be about Jamie’s new pair of legs that she’s been wearing… Thanks for reading!