Model: Yolanda Brutley-Dugger
Transverse Myelitis

Math tutor, peer mentor, mathematician, jewelry designer

“The greatest glory of living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” – Confucius

On June 1, 2006, the daughter of Zion was suddenly stricken by a disease named transverse myelitis. A wheelchair became medically necessary to engage in daily activities. Despite all the new challenges presented along the way, strength and honor have become her clothing.

A little denial is natural, grief can shake our faith, and usually leads to acceptance.
Sometimes you must accept the fact that certain things will not go back to how they used to be.

“Lives fall apart when they need to be rebuilt.” – Iyanla Vanzant

Therefore, I choose…
to live by choice, not by chance
to be motivated, not manipulated
to be useful, not used
to make change, not excuses
to excel, not compete
I choose self-esteem, not self-pity
I choose to listen to my inner-voice, not to the random opinions of others

Change doesn’t have to hurt. Surely by now, I know that everything happens for a reason! The truth has set me free, but it was necessary to endure labor pains of birthing it. Everyone has a purpose because God is a purposeful God. Teaching is my purpose.

The Bold Beauty Project is a great platform for women to inspire, encourage, and energize one another. After all, we have become champions over the years.

“I never lose; either I win or learn.”—Nelson Mandela

When asked to participate as a model, which entailed a photo shoot, Octavius Catto came to mind. Why? Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney championed the memorial since his days on City Council. Catto is a legendary American figure. He’s leaning forward and appears to be breaking through a barrier, crossing a finish line. This is the first public sculpture raised at City Hall since 1923 and public monument honoring a specific African American on the city’s landscape. What it tells people is our lives matter, and the fight started over a century ago.

“The sculpture, with some added attraction, coincides well with the Bold Beauty theme “grit and grace.” Such accomplishments exude pride while representing Philly, a city which breeds champions.”


Photographed by John Stritzinger & Tom Weir