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Warrior By Jack Schimmelman

Kelly Donovan by Federico Peltretti Used by permission

Hands on hips, mouth taut, her game face scowls for the world to see. She is 7 years old and ready to race boys much older than her. n the ripened te!ture of childhood, her daddy has embedded in her that she can do anything. She will win. Her mom teaches her compassion, but that lesson does not resonate at the starting line. Her mode de "our for the day and much of her young life is a blue bathing suit which she wears #$%7. &lways ready for the cobalt waters of 'ape 'od that surge through her heart. (he boys lea)e before the count of *. +ur girl,s spindly legs spin, throat snarls and when she rounds the first corner, one of her competitors sticks out his foot and she goes down like one of her belo)ed 'ape 'od wa)es crashing onto the shore. (he perpetrator then runs through a neighbor,s yard, creating a shortcut. With blood running down her legs, she springs to her feet and churns e)en faster to win her race. (he red plasma of her ancestors unfurls behind her re)ealing her emblem of will and grit. -indless of suffering, this young child crosses the finish line lea)ing behind her incredulous male friends who ha)e always been taught that they were the best, the strong and lightning .uick. (he boy who has tripped her limps to the end somewhat diminished. /elly 0ono)an, the gangly stick figure, stands bloody, triumphant with arms held high in )ictory. Words are superfluous. She returns home for lunch to proudly regal her parents with her scene of triumph. (his was not the first time, nor would it be the last. /elly 0ono)an would continue to win against the odds.

+ur child grows and continues to compete with the guys, playing high school basketball on a boy,s summer league team. She has no fear, trash talking with the elite potty mouths. (hen one day, as adolescence recedes into the mist, our skinny, gawky child blossoms into a beautiful woman. She falls onto the path of a modeling career. 0uring a shoot, she is asked to roll in beach grass, filled with "oy. When she finishes her task, her body is changed. & deer tick hidden in the weeds has gi)en /elly the 1gift2 of 3yme disease. &t first, the symptoms are subtle. 4o telltale signs of a circular skin rash. Her career begins e)en as floodgates of pain and suffering open. (he industry asks her to put on a happy face, while her )isage is fatigued beyond weary. &t 56, life is opa.ue. 7!hausted, constant pain in)ites disease to rush into the breach of her compromised immune system. 7pstein8Barr, -ononucleosis and their cousins arri)e unannounced. 9inally, her body submits to her apparent destiny manifesting aseptic encephalitic throughout her elegant brain. /elly is brought to her knees. n the hospital she is told that she is allergic to penicillin. Her lo)ing family, a circle of angels surrounds her. She drags herself away from mortality,s edge to start her race once again. (hat small, skinny )ictorious girl returns to /elly,s mature, de)astated body. She refuses a white flag. Whate)er they do for her in the hospital will not be accomplished without the spirit of that child who ne)er allows herself to lose. /elly 0ono)an sur)i)ed that e!perience and accepted that she would li)e the rest of her days with debilitating, chronic illness. n time, she would understand that this was the greatest gift she could be gi)en. 9or this was her path to empowerment. 4e)ertheless, she had a "ob to do. & "ob that paid well and afforded her a life of tra)el and ad)enture. -any times the beauty products that were applied to her skin would cause her throat to tighten until she had trouble breathing. &cute asthma would infuse her stream. Her skin reacted to chemicals, creating blotches that would disturb anyone,s ga:e. Her weakened immune system made life her enemy. When asked how she coped with such misery, she replied that she remembered who she was and that she would not allow illness to defeat her. She merely put on her 1warrior,s face.2 4obody knew. /elly maintained a beautiful fa;ade despite the betrayal of her chemistry to the )ery elements that her industry asked her to adorn in order to sell. Sell. Sell. ndeed, -s. 0ono)an li)ed a uni.ue lie. She feigned an image of health so that her industry may produce glamour. /elly willed herself to triumph o)er biology gone awry in order to continue working. -irrors of illusion built upon truth. /elly 0ono)an is a sur)i)or. /elly proceeded down medicine,s lane, seeking physicians of e)ery #

stripe who might be able to help her. 9or se)eral years, not one practitioner took her seriously. 1<ou can,t be sick2 was a common refrain from a =reek chorus of dead8eyed clinicians. 1<ou look too beautiful,2 deni:ens of sterile air8conditioned nightmares would chime dressed in denial. +thers simply said she was pretending. +ne said she was sleeping incorrectly on her pillow. 4ot understanding the cause of her ob)iously wounded corporal being, doctors concluded that she did not suffer from the symptoms she manifested. 9inally, she met a holistic cardiologist, 0r. /ristine Soly, who took one look at /elly as she entered the room and immediately said that she suffered from 'hronic 3yme 0isease. Her "ourney was transformed. (hroughout the parade of ignorance guised in the aura of medicine she remained loyal to her heart. 0r. Soly recommended a specialist and one led to another until -s. 0ono)an found the team of doctors who could help her li)e more comfortably with a heinous condition. 0uring her .uest, her uncle, 0r. >aul /enyon, a homeopath%naturopath with *? years e!perience kept her ali)e with his holistic approach. When she could lift her head and stop drowning in a morass of darkness, /elly decided she would respond to her challenge by in)enting a line of skin care products that would help other people who suffer from chemical sensiti)ities. She enlisted the help of 0r. /enyon. (heir efforts resulted in a creation that is beyond organic, homeopathic, safe and free of chemicals that shroud our largest organ, skin. /elly wishes to nurture each body to become the soul,s sanctuary. (hat desire has resulted in 1-odel,s Secret.2 -s. 0ono)an did not succumb to misery. She disco)ered faith and profound compassion through her suffering. @esponding to o)erwhelming odds she courageously created a path upon which others could breathe, be well and release their uni.ue essence into light. /elly 0ono)an,s secret is life. f you wish to know more about /elly 0ono)an,s response to ad)ersity, click here Amodelssecretskincare.comB.

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