James in a dress.

“We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.”
Rick Warren

     There are a few things I am very passionate about in my life.  All of those things are somehow shaped by my past.

     I am passionately loyal to my friends. I have a fear of abandonment that is arguably related to my childhood. As a result of my fear of abandonment, I have developed the ability to just totally cut people out of my life as soon as my mind raises a red flag that I am about to get hurt or abandoned. I say it is one of my greatest flaws. It is a form of protection where I avoid being hurt by isolating myself. Those who find themselves in my inner circle will tell you I can cling heavily but I can also totally shut and lock the door. I am so afraid of being alone that I often find myself alone because I push people away. Funny how that works.

     I am passionate about finding a cure for Alzheimers. I think about my grandmother daily. She had a huge impact on my life. Deeply religious, kind, and loving; she is a huge part of my life and who I am today. However, less than a month before she died she did not know who I was. I had always said I would lose it if that ever happened, and when it did I was in total shock.  Fortunately a few minutes later, once she started talking a bit, she was asked again if she knew who I was and she said “Jamie!” as if she was offended we thought she may not have known. I spent most weekends with her growing up. I remember telling her one day that I like apple butter, a comment I regretted later, after she decided every single day when I arrived home from school, she would have toast and apple butter waiting for me when the bus dropped me off at her house. Not having the heart to tell her I was tired of apple butter, I continued to eat it everyday, and I have not had it once since the last time I arrived at her house after school. So much of who I am, the want to help others, my ability to see both sides of all issues, my belief in God, comes from her. Alzheimers took her away from me. Now my other grandmother is staring to go through the same process. If Alzheimers is genetic… well… I don’t have much hope of avoiding it.

   And I am passionate about the Julie Valentine Center. 17% of all women in the US will find themselves the victim of a rapist. 17%. That is a huge number. 3% of all males in the US will also be a victim. A much smaller number but the impact it has on that 3% is huge. Rape victims are 3 times more likely to suffer from depression and 4 times as likely to comment suicide. 6 times as likely to suffer from PTSD. 13 times more likely to be alcoholics and 26, yes, 2-6, times more likely to abuse drugs. Those statistics are part of why I choose to support the Julie Valentine Center so passionately, formerly the Greenville Rape Crisis and Child Abuse Center, in the hopes that future victims, both male and female, will have the courage to seek help and report their perpetrators. If JVC can stop one victim from ending their life, or take one perpetrator off of the street, therefore saving future victims, then my time and energy is worth it. JVC offers multiple levels of support for sexual assault victims, young and old, male and female. Serving roughly 1,000 victims per year, the Julie Valentine Center depends on fundraising from the community to continue their mission. 1,000 victims per year. Imagine that number. Think about how many people you interact with per day and then realize that statistically, 1 in 5 of those people will be the victim of a sexual assault in their lifetime. Greenville County needs a well funded Julie Valentine Center, so that the children that show up there daily, can get the help they desperately need.

     My goal this year is to raise at least $2,000. While I would hope to raise more, I only have two weeks to hit my goal. And while I always try to have some fun with hitting my goal, the cause is very close to my heart.

     This year, if I hit my $2,000 goal in one week, so by Friday July 24th, I will run the 5k in a dress. If I hit $3,000 I will run the entire 5k in a dress AND heels. So… go to www.SupportJames.com and chip in. Help me help others, and know that you are helping make a difference. Let’s have a little fun but not forget this is a very serious subject. Give what you can… it all adds up! 🙂 If everyone who reads this only gives $20, I should hit my goal easily.



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