Childhood dreams realized, family members honored, hundreds of miles traveled (by plane and by foot) and more than a couple feats of physical and mental strength: this year’s CoverMyQuest winners set out to achieve personal goals, but they’ve inspired all of us at CoverMyMeds.
Of the more than 120 people who signed up for the 2018 CoverMyQuest, eight most exemplified what it means to truly live CoverMyMeds’ core values: Embracing challenges and doing the right thing, acting selflessly, focusing on results and, of course, being their awesome selves.
We asked each Quest winner to share an update in their own words. Here are three more of their stories. (Miss the first four? Check it out here.)
Gabe Michael Kenney - Build a “Time Machine”
Part one: Host a kaleidoscope workshop.
In April, I began my kaleidoscope project with Central High School; over the course of four weeks, students were instructed to build their own large, mirrored kaleidoscope viewfinders and also 2-D object cells to peer at through the viewfinders. All material costs were sponsored by CoverMyQuest.
After the workshop, I hosted an exhibition at Second Sight Studios in Franklinton, where we displayed the work for the public. The viewfinders hung on wall racks and the object cells were mounted to the wall and able to be spun. Public audience members were welcomed to use the viewfinders freely in the space and encouraged to peer at the 2-D work. Spinning each object cell while using the viewfinders allowed the work to come alive.
Audience members were also encouraged to paint a circle on a big community object cell — this painting, along with a viewfinder, will be permanently displayed in one of CMM’s Columbus offices.
As a nod to the mural CMM sponsored for 934 Fest in 2018, we used the same color scheme for our Community Object Cell. All and all, the workshop and show were a great success.
Part 2: Build a Time Machine.
With the help of my lovely team, we shot an installation and performance art piece on the future site of our phase two building on our “forever home” campus in Franklinton — the abandoned Kokosing Construction building. In one evening, we set up and shot the Time Machine and, through the magic of art, envisioned what it would be like for a character to travel through time and confront a mirrored self in a parallel universe.
The Time Machine photos speak for themselves — however, I hosted a lightning talk in July, during which I went in depth on the project.
Jared French - Travel to Uganda on a Mission Trip
My journey to Uganda actually began in October 2017, when my wife Michelle and I decided to sponsor two little girls named Sharon and Mariam through our church’s partnership with Children’s HopeChest. I’ve always imagined it would be a cool experience to meet the children we sponsored, but I also imagined it would be a cool experience to be a dinosaur — so I wasn’t exactly anticipating boarding a plane a little over a year later to fly halfway across the world.
With the funds provided by CoverMyMeds, my wife and I got an uncomfortable number of vaccinations and joined a team of incredible people from Lifepoint on the way to Kakira, Uganda.
Our first full day in Uganda set the tone for the week: If I had a top 10 list of “Experiences to avoid,” dancing to unfamiliar music with complete strangers in front of a crowd would definitely be near the top, but the Lord has an uncanny ability to turn something agonizingly uncomfortable into something I looked forward to every day. We danced with the children. We danced with the community. We danced with the church. Once we even danced for the community, which was a complete disaster. In case you were wondering, the “Cha-Cha Slide” holds no relevance outside of American weddings.
I knew I would experience a lot in Uganda, but my trip always revolved around meeting Sharon and Mariam. I had some context for their lives through a handful of letters and a slightly blurry picture hanging on our refrigerator, but it’s hard to describe the immense impact of meeting them both face-to-face.
I got to see Sharon sing and dance with her friends. She told us her favorite school subject is arithmetic, and we met her wonderful mother and two younger brothers. I took silly selfies with Mariam and made jewelry out of come copper wire she found on the ground. I saw the indescribable joy on her mother’s face as she welcomed us into her home to meet her six other children. And there was something sacred about asking how we could pray for them and then taking those requests to the Lord together in their homes.
That context changed everything for me. Those few days I spent playing and dancing and singing left the permanent imprint of two strong, intelligent children and their families on my heart.
My prayer for this trip was connection; connection to God, connection to the Kakira community and connection to the children we sponsor. It’s convicting to admit, but it would be so typical for me to breeze right past this experience without recognizing that we serve a faithful God who hears our prayers and responds to them (1 John 5:14).
It’s hard to fathom how God could have transformed my heart in the way He did without this trip. I had an awesome opportunity to be a part of His work in Uganda and the people taught me about a life of joy, community, and hospitality that can be so foreign to our individualistic culture in the West. For that, I’m eternally grateful.
I can’t say thank you enough to CoverMyMeds for investing in programs like CoverMyQuest, which allowed me to take such an incredible journey.
Neeloo Fathi – Send My Mom to Turkey for a Family Reunion
My quest was focused on giving back to my mom, after she selflessly helped me out in my biggest time of need.
Two years ago, as a 23-year-old navigating post-grad life — I’d been at CoverMyMeds for only about six months — my life took a turn I never expected. On September 8, 2017, I was planning on walking to work, as I normally did, but didn’t make it past the first block. Instead, I was hit and run over by a COTA bus. Crazy – I know.
I laid under the bus in complete shock as I waited for help; once the paramedics arrived, I was rushed to Grant Hospital, where I went into emergency surgery for my injuries.
It was my parents’ worst nightmare, getting a call like this, especially when they don’t live nearby or even in Ohio. Luckily, they were visiting family friends in Chicago and were able to drive to Columbus to be with me in the hospital. My sister, who lives in LA, flew in the next day. We were all beyond grateful that I was alive, but we still had no clue what the future would look like.
For the first two weeks, I stayed at the hospital unable to move. After I was finally able to sit up, I was moved to a rehab hospital where I began in-patient physical therapy in a wheelchair. At this point, my dad flew back to Houston to go back to work, and my sister went back to LA. Although the circumstances were not ideal, it was nice to have all of us together for two weeks. It made me realize the importance of family and how much I value the time I am able to spend with them.
After my sister and my dad left Columbus, my mom stayed with me, continuing to help me throughout my recovery. During this time, my mom slept on my hospital couch every night so I wouldn’t be alone. She helped me transition back to living in my apartment, where she then spent three more months sleeping on my couch taking care of me and my six-month-old puppy (who was quiet the handful).
I don’t know what I would have done without her and will forever be grateful for all that she has done for me throughout my life, but especially during this time. Eventually, when I was cleared to walk, I started out-patient physical therapy and my mom headed back to Houston, taking my puppy with her since I wouldn’t be able to care for her on my own. I continued to recovery and life went on. It hasn’t been an easy journey, but I still feel beyond blessed, especially for the time I had with my mom.
When my mom told me about her family reunion happening in Turkey, I knew I wanted to make it happen for her. (A lot of people have asked: We’re not Turkish, but it was the easiest place to meet, as most of our family lives overseas.)
My mom has dedicated so much of her life to me, I wanted to find a way to give back. I knew this trip would be something we could forever cherish together. Spending more time with family has become such an important part of my life and being able to fulfil my Quest of taking my mom and I on her family reunion was a dream come true.
The family reunion took place in October 2018, in the beautiful city of Antalya. It was absolutely amazing to see my mom’s family, who I haven’t seen in years and some I had never met. My mom was so happy the entire trip, and it is a memory I will forever hold onto.
Throughout these last few years I realized how precious life is and to always make time for the people that matter most in your life. I am so grateful for this experience and cannot thank CoverMyMeds enough for making all of this happen for me.