April, the season of “bloom” coming to fruition!
This month, we had so many things happening here at DLM and we didn’t get the chance for a “theme” shoot this month BUT we have the wonderful opportunity to meet two special ladies and their vision for Reaching Out to their community and “Extending a Hand of Hope”.
Tamara Mena and Stephanie Sablan are starting the “First Young Women’s SCI Support Group at the respectable hospital, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, one of the leading SCI rehabilitation hospitals in the nation” ”…we are excitedly leading this group. With our gratitude towards life for having a second chance, we are passionate about supporting and encouraging young women who have sustained a SCI.” Read More HERE
MEET THE MODELS
Tamara Mena – T2 Paraplegic
On a fateful night in October of 2005, Tamara, her long time boyfriend Patrick, and several friends decided to take a short trip to Rosarito, Mexico for a night of fun. To avoid the dangers of drinking and driving, Tamara and her friends decided to take a taxi to their destination. Just a few miles from their final destination, the taxi struck a horse standing in the middle of the road. The impact crushed the roof of the cab, instantly killing Patrick and the taxi driver. Tamara was shielded from the impact by her boyfriend’s protective arms. Her life was spared, but she suffered life-threatening injuries. Doctors told her family Tamara would never walk again. She spent months in the hospital rehabilitating and learning how to adapt to her new life using a wheelchair. Tamara endured a great tragedy and severe physical injuries, but she never lost her ambition and optimism.
Tamara was able to return to school and after graduating at the top of her class at Modesto Junior College, Tamara attended California State University Stanislaus, where she majored in a field of study she was passionate about, Communication Studies. She graduated from college with highest honors, Summa Cum Laude. Tamara’s greatest honor was to be selected to give the commencement address to a crowd of ten thousand people where she received a standing ovation and was also selected out of the entire graduating class to be awarded with the most prestigious award a CSU Stanislaus graduate could ever receive.
Since graduation, Tamara has spoken to thousands of people ranging from very young to business professionals. She has been a keynote speaker and guest speaker at several events. As a speaker and “Test Pilot” for Ekso Bionics, Tamara has spoken to thousands of people about this exciting new technology.
Tamara has been featured as a guest and motivational speaker on the world-renowned Spanish television show, Sábado Gigante, to share her passion for life. She appeared on the famous American television news show, Inside Edition, showing part of her journey to taking real life steps. Her most recent television appearance was on the American TV Show, The Doctors. Tamara has been featured as a model and role model on several publications. These range from New Mobility magazine, the largest magazine in the disability community, to being on the cover of IEEE Spectrum Magazine, the largest technology publication in the world, standing in exoskeleton, Ekso. She was most recently featured with Ekso in the worldwide known business magazine, Fast Company. She has modeled for a number of businesses ranging from TiLite Wheelchairs to the internationally known fashion designer, Norma Kamali. Tamara remains focused on achieving all of her dreams and goals; but above all, her main desire in life is to help others. – www.tamaramena.com
Stephanie Sablan – T11 Paraplegic
On the night of January 9, 2011, my life drastically changed. I was driving home after spending a weekend with family. I had a bad habit of texting while driving and although I knew it was dangerous, like most people,I never once thought anything would happen to me.
While driving on the freeway, I received a text message from a friend and decided to read the message and reply back. Because of the lack of attention to the road, I lost control, rolled my car several times, and was ejected from the passenger door resulting in a T11 spinal cord injury. The events immediately following that horrific incident, had forever made an impact on my life. From that moment on, I had my family, friends and strangers make a pledge to never text while driving or any kind of distraction for that matter.
I teamed up with my dear friend Tamara Mena and we are leading the first young women’s spinal cord injury support group at my rehab center. I hope to help the newly injured, as well as the old, on their journey throughout life. It is important to me to help others find the positive in a lifestyle that is very difficult and easy to become blurred by the negative. While I was in rehab, I was visited by Tamara and remember how inspiring it was to see another young lady dressed up and smiling as if she had the world in her hands. I want nothing more than to give other young women the same feeling and positivity.
PHOTOGRAPHY & EDITING