Jenni Taylor is a radiantly positive woman who is also a C1-C2 vent dependent quadriplegic, artist, college student, motivational speaker and former Ms. Wheelchair Minnesota. She was injured in a car accident at the age of 16. We were honored to film her for our “Life After SCI” video series! Here is a sneak peek of what Jenni shared with us about her life.
When we arrived at Jenni’s home her nurse and PCA were busy transferring her from her bed into her standing frame using the overhead lift installed in her room. Jenni’s family did a wonderful job remodeling the lower level to accommodate her needs. Her lift track goes all the way into her large bathroom making transferring into her shower chair or tub much easier. The spacious design of the entire home and the elevator that was installed allows Jenni to move freely in her power wheelchair on all three levels. This was very important to Jenni and her family because the house that she lived in after leaving rehab was very inaccessible and made her feel extremely secluded.
After standing for a bit in her Evolv, Jenni was ready to start her day. She was transferred into her wheelchair and began her morning routine. Because of the high level of her injury, her nurse or PCA performs all of the necessary tasks for her, but she is great about communicating her needs and wants.
Before starting the interview, Jenni’s nurse needed to switch Jenni from her large ventilator to her portable ventilator, attached to the back of her chair, allowing her to move around as needed. We settled in the living room and notice several cute crafty signs that read “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” What a wonderful motto!
During the interview. Jenni shared with us how life has changed for her since her accident. She also talked about her reign as Ms. Wheelchair Minnesota 2011, her life as a college student with a disability, and her continued work as a disability advocate and motivational speaker. Jenni enjoys sharing her life experiences with a variety of different audiences, especially kids, to help and educate them. One speech that really stood out to her was at a high school following a mock car accident. She emphasized the dangers of distracted driving and what the consequences may be. She ended our interview with some advice for other vent dependent quads in a similar situation.
After wrapping up the interview, Jenni shared her artistic talents with us! She paints with a brush using her mouth and a bit of assistance from her nurse. It was amazing to watch! We had the pleasure of seeing some of her beautiful water color paintings. She even offered to give us the painting that she did that day. What an honor.
Jenni is also a talent writer; she has her own blog called “The Site That Breathes” and is a guest blogger for the EasyStand Blog. She showed us how she controls her laptop using voice commands. Very interesting!
All in all we had a wonderful day filming the former Ms. Wheelchair Minnesota. This was the first time that any of us had met Jenni in person, but it felt like we were old friends reuniting for the day. She has a way about her, it must be that big smile and always positive attitude that brings you in! We know that you will enjoy meeting her as well when you watch her upcoming “Life After SCI” video!
Was there a part of Jenni’s story that you can related to? Are you looking forward to seeing her “Life After SCI” video?