2013 – Jamie Plourde
Jamie Plourde is 23 years old and lives in Pembroke, New Hampshire. She has a life-shortening disease called Friedreich’s Ataxia, or FA, which she was diagnosed with when she was 9 years old. When she was growing up, the most difficult situation she had to deal with was that it was becoming increasingly more difficult to keep up with her friends, and accepting the changes her body was making.
Jamie entered high school with a scooter and low self-esteem. We encouraged her to get involved so she joined Key Club, was accepted into the National Honor Society, and was the manager of her school’s dance team. She lived the most regular teenage life she could while struggling with this life-shortening disease. She graduated with honors and went on to attend a four year college where she was on the Dean’s List every semester and made some great friends.
While Jamie was serving as MDA Goodwill Ambassador for NH, she met Ms. Wheelchair MA, at an MDA event. She couldn’t wait to turn 21, so that she could enter the pageant. Jamie entered and won the title of Miss Wheelchair NH! We were so proud. She went to the national pageant representing NH and won the Most Colorful Life Award.The Most Colorful Life Award went to the contestant who lived life to the fullest, regardless of their physical disability.
Jamie is not the type of person who will sit around and be bullied! Even if the bully, in her case, is her own body. Even though she struggles daily with the progression of her disease and completing a task as simple as brushing her teeth, she has refused to sit back and let that bully take her life. Jamie has recently become an ambassador for FARA ( Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance) to spread awareness of FA. Last fall, Jamie was blessed with a beautiful baby girl. For her, part of never giving up is to never stop learning about her health. Because of this persistence, her dream to be a mother has become a reality.