One day Jillian woke up at the age of 15 and life suddenly stood still. She was an active young adult, living a fairly healthy life and as instantaneous as the snap of two fingers, her world changed. She was diagnosed with multiple autoimmune diseases that prohibited her from being her definition of “normal”. Immediately placed on home instruction through high school, Jillian tried countless medications, sometimes ones she was deathly allergic to, and was trying her best to regain the life she had lost. With her sister (also diagnosed with multiple diseases) as her constant mentor to look back on, and through years of tiresome trials and errors, eastern and western medicines, slowly she regained her health. Jillian says she is still not cured or in remission, but is living her best arthritis life and feels strong in her body and sense of self.
After years of working up her daily abilities, she found yoga and it changed everything. With a healthy diet, dedication, medication and mindfulness, Jillian took control of her destiny. Jillian recounts “Even though I cannot carry a backpack when I travel, I hiked the four day trek to Machu Picchu, scaled ladders at Acadia National park, found myself lost on Mt. Rainer, climbed ice walls on the Mendenhall Glacier, walked Angels Landing in Zion and found myself in Israel camping under the stars near the Egyptian border. As adult honoree, I hope to give hope and inspiration to those afflicted by diseases.” She believes “Change can happen. It might come over years of hard work, but dreams and the life you want are possible if you’re willing to curve your perspective.”