Hey there beauties! We here at Slick Chicks are just rolling through September! Fun fact, this month just happens to be Spinal Cord Injury Awareness month. With that in mind, we thought we would introduce you to another awesome ambassador chick! Her name is Jessika Kattah and she is a lifestyle blogger for individuals with disabilities.
Jessika has been a Level T2 Incomplete Paraplegic since 2012. This bad ass beauty lets nothing stop her and has a “no limits, no quit” attitude; that is why it’s our pleasure to have her as part of our Slick Chicks family! Jessika says she is more than happy to educate curious minds and that's exactly what she does with her YouTube channel and blog! She showcases all her adaptive adventures, including scuba diving, wheelchair traveling, adaptive activities, and so much more! This rad lady is definitely a one of a kind with such an amazing spirit!
Jessika definitely adds a bit of Colombian spice to everything she does; and her recent Q & A session with the Slick Chicks team was no different! Now get to know this flaming hot advocate and ambassador babe!
Can you tell us a little about yourself and what you do?
My name is Jessika Kattah (31 years young) and I am a Lifestyle Blogger for people with disabilities with more of a focus on Spinal Cord Injury, speaking on my own experiences. I am a Level T2 Incomplete Paraplegic since 2012. When I was a Freshman in high school, doctors discovered a lipoma tumor compressed against my spine the “length of a hot dog and the width of a baseball.” I had my 1st surgery to remove 75% of the tumor at 14 and had 3 months of physical therapy and I was back to my active able-bodied teenage self. I never thought of the tumor again. Fast forward 12 years and at the age of 26, I started losing sensation in parts of my lower half. I went in to see a neurologist who confirmed by MRI that the tumor had fully grown back. I was scheduled for surgery #2 immediately. I went into surgery able-bodied and woke up 9 hours later paralyzed. Though doctors were able to remove 45% of the tumor that time, it was so compressed against my spinal cord that my spine was physically damaged. When I woke up from surgery, I realized that my life had completely changed. I started my blog about a year after my injury after many requests to do so by both able-bodies and "wheelers". They were curious about how I did things in a chair. I am more than happy to educate curious minds. My blogs and YouTube Channel showcase all my adaptive adventures including SCUBA Diving, Wheelchair Traveling, Adaptive Activities and so much more! While I hope we find a cure for Spinal Cord Injury one day, I still have to continue my life. Paralysis may have knocked me down for a while but it didn’t knock me out. I am alive, I am breathing, and I intend on living life to the fullest. I am honored to be an Ambassador for Slick Chicks which I think is such an empowering company that supports women of ALL types! I am also proud to be a Board Member of Memorial Rehab’s Adaptive Sports and Recreation Program in Hollywood, Florida and an Ambassador for the Red Bull Wings For Life World Run that is a marathon-type run that takes place all over the world and 100% of the proceeds go to Spinal Cord Injury Research. It is my passion to raise awareness about the need to find a cure for Spinal Cord Injury. Meanwhile, I am preparing my body for the day medicine and technology catch up to me. They better hurry up because I am on a roll (pun totally intended!).
How and where do you find inspiration?
Inspiration, by definition, is “the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something.” I think sometimes, the word “inspiration” it too loosely used and easily thrown around. What truly inspires and motivates me is the need and want to help others. I live by Gandhi’s quote, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” I am in a very fortunate position where I can help others whether it be volunteering my time, sharing my story so others know they are not alone or just be a listening ear in a time of hurt or healing.
What does empowerment mean to you?
To empower someone is to encourage them to be the best “YOU” they can be. Life is not about competition, it’s about helping each other out. I have many people who come to me for advice about being in a chair and how I do things, I would never turn my shoulder on them. I was once there myself. If I can help someone feel more confident and strong in their abilities and focus on what they can do, then hopefully they will take that feeling and want to pay it forward and empower the next person. Empowerment is such a powerful movement and Slick Chicks does that for me, the company and its product empower me to be the best ME. Slick Chicks makes life one step easier and one less thing I need to worry about when life is spent paralyzed from the chest down sitting in a chair all day. Thank you Slick Chicks!
When was a time you felt completely discouraged and how did you push through it?
That’s easy, at the age of 26, the time I woke from surgery and I thought I would just have 3 months of physical therapy and go on with the life I always knew. Instead, I would be paralyzed and completely discouraged that I would ever be able to lead the life I once had. Dancing was my life. Working out and being active was my life. It took me months, maybe even a couple years to accept the new ME and learn to adapt to my new life. I learned that I could still do everything I did before, I just do it differently. I may be more active now than I ever was. I found a passion for SCUBA Diving and got certified post-injury, I hand-cycle, love to travel and meet new people from all over the world, exchange stories because everyone has a story that is uniquely theirs. I pushed through my hard time when I learned to adapt and find new passions and learn to keep the old passions alive just by doing them differently. Dancing with your feet is one thing, but dancing with your heart is a whole other story.
What is one piece of advice that you would give a young woman to navigate today's ever-changing world?
Adapt. The world can change around you, circumstances may change whether for better or worse but don’t let it ever stop you. Find a way to adapt and keep up with today’s ever-changing world. Fight (peacefully) if you need to fight for your rights in the event you feel that they are being threatened because everyday I wake up and find something changing in our world and not always for the better. Lord knows, I have had to voice my rights and fight for bare necessities. We can’t always change others, but we can always control and change our reaction to what is happening around us. Let’s adapt to life’s challenges, rise up and make this world a better place.
After reading that interview you can see why Jessika fits into our Slick Chicks family! Her desire to empower others and rise to the challenges of life proves that she is not just a pretty face, but a fierce woman filled with passion, adventure, and strength! She is determined to make a difference in her community and in the world. Keep showing society how amazing it is to dance with your whole heart Jessika!
You can keep up with Jessika by checking out her website and social media pages below:
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Shannon & the Slick Chicks Team