National Mobility Awareness Month Partners:

Jennifer Austin

Cowan, TN

Entry Photo for Jennifer Austin - Cowan, TN

My name is Jennifer Austin, I am 29 years old and am from Cowan, Tennessee. In September of 2006 I was involved in a tragic hit and run car accident that changed my life forever, resulting in a spinal cord injury at the cervical 5-6 level making me quadriplegic and wheelchair bound for life. I refused to give up then and continue with the same outlook now. I feel I’m not only a hometown hero but also a fighter and a survivor!

In 2009, I left my family and moved over an hour away to attend Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), where I was attending college at the time of my accident. Pursuing my education is what led me to take my fist BIG step in gaining back the independence that I lost. Little did I know this would be one of the best and most influential decisions I ever made. With hard work I successfully completed my Bachelors and Masters degree and as of December 2014, I began working as an Academic Advisor for the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences at MTSU. I assist students in developing meaningful educational goals that are consistent with personal interests, values and abilities. I hope first and foremost to inspire students while giving back to the University that helped me to find my purpose again!

In March of 2015 my family and I suffered another tragic event when my father died suddenly of a massive heart attack. He was one of my biggest cheerleaders and couldn’t wait for me to take the last step to full independence and begin driving. However, a new van is financially impossible. My current mode of transportation is a 97 Dodge Grand Caravan that is not equipped to drive and constantly breaking down and needing repairs, making getting to work safely a constant concern.

My cousin recently started a Go Fund Me account on my behalf. If I am lucky enough to win I will use all the money that has been donated to do the repairs my van desperately needs and donate it to a local family in need. My community has given me an enormous amount of support, prayers, love and encouragement since the time of my accident and I feel this is a good way to give back.

Winning this van would be life changing. Please give me this opportunity and vote for me!