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The Reeve Foundation's Faces & Places Photo Contest was a success. We recieved all kinds of photos that show our community living life without limits.
Two of these photos are from Kristina Rhoades, Places winner, and Jerry Watkins, grand prize winner. (Their winning photos pictured at right and left).
I tend to get excited over the little things in life, so when I got to call Kristina and Jerry to congratulate them I was quite happy! Here's a little about each of them:
Kristina Rhoades is not like every other 27-year-old. She has been living with a T5, T6 spinal cord injury since she was 10-months-old, but hasn't let that stop her from being active. Kristina's photo shows just that when she decided to try rock climbing in Long Beach in August of 2010.
"My husband is an aspiring photographer and I've loved sports for as long as I can remember," says Kristina. "We pulled up and said, ‘I want to try this,'" explains Kristina. "They took one look at my arms and said, ‘I can see from your arms that you need to pull your own weight,' and I said ‘Okay!'"
Kristina describes reaching the top of the rock wall and ringing the bell as one of the coolest feelings ever.
Get to know Kristina.
Jerry Watkins, age 59, was determined to live his life to the fullest despite an automobile accident in November 2002. Living now with a T3 complete spinal cord injury from someone who hit his car from behind while talking on their cell phone, Jerry simply says, "Hey, I'm alive." He sure is.
Jerry went back to work the day after being discharged from the hospital following the accident.
"I have been working with the company for 32 years," says Jerry of his job in environmental health and safety for a chemical company in Atlanta, Georgia. "There is incredible support and encouragement for me. At first, everyone was falling over to help me. Now, they treat me just like everybody else. It just doesn't get any better than that."
He also took up a favorite pastime of his, umpiring.
Get to know Jerry.
Much congratulations to Kristina, Jerry, and all our finalists. THANK YOU to everyone who entered the contest as well. All the photos were unique and told stories of their own, so thank you for sharing your story!
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