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Tracey Howard's Autobiography (submitted 5/17/06)

MY TRUTHFUL JOURNEY--Tracey Blair Howard

Closing the door behind me, I breathe a sigh of relief for another good doctor visit. Each breath is a milestone because I was born with a very rare heart disease and was not expected to live past four years old. For the last 36 years, visits with the cardiologist have been routine. I schedule an appointment.

I stand outside thinking over the past six months, the past year. What a roller coaster ride! When did it start? Was it my birthday, April 4, 1970? Or was it July 23, 2005 when my only brother was killed in a tragic car accident?

This summer marked one of the most difficult times in my life. My brother was incredible. His death and the stress of the accident caused my physical health to deteriorate. However, my 3 sisters and I, and the rest of our family banded together for strength and support. We were there for one another; we embarkd on this tragic journey together.

Additional support came from my neighbors at Kate's Place Apartments. They taught me the importance of community, totally supporting me during this very difficult and painful time in my life. Their strength and love showed me good people who truly care about others and totally give of themselves.

As I leave the Wood Center of Children's Hospital I smile as the light hits my face. I don't know what the next six months hold, or the next year, but I believe that with God first, my family, my church community, and the love and support of my extended family I will continue to offer the best that is inside me. No matter what happens at the end, I have already won.

Questions?  Contact Nicola Twilley at 215.545.3870.  Media contact: Kim Rothwell, 215.790.7837.
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