Carolina Gradvohl De Assis
Model: Carolina Gradvohl De Assis
I came to the United States in 2002 when I was 23. All that I had was a good friend, $60 dollars, a wheelchair, the dream of living a life with dignity and respecting myself. I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at age 18. The path towards appreciation of myself despite the circumstances was not easy. Here in the USA, I found out happiness is on the inside. Here, I found hope through faith in God and my life started to change. I used to spend most of my days in the hospital taking steroids. Strengthening my faith got me through eleven years of no flare ups of my multiple sclerosis. I met my husband in July 2006. He is a wonderful man who has supported me and enabled me to grow in all aspects of life. Soon after we got married, both of us committed to the goal of becoming health care providers. This journey was and still is extremely rewarding, but it was filled with roadblocks. Many doors were closed because of my physical condition, but I never gave up. Against all odds, in 2012 I was admitted to the nursing program at Miami Dade College, making the best of this opportunity the college gave to me. In 2013, I became a registered nurse. I received academic awards and was the top graduate of my college campus. In September 2016, I became a nurse practitioner, and I’m excited with the chance of helping patients to understand and seek better and more productive lives.
Throughout this self-discovery process, filled with faith and determination, I was provided with the opportunity to have my life back again and to live with dignity and respect. Most importantly, I was privileged to give back to my community by inspiring people to live to the fullest of their potential. I was inspired by other individuals who did not trust the circumstances, or the hardships of life, BUT believed in God and in the divine purpose He has for each one of us. People that truly envision that we are just like life: beautiful, but not perfect.
I can do all this through Him who gives me strength — Philippians 4:13
Photographed by Juan Manuel Garcia