Parker County Today October 2017 - Page 50

everywhere. No longer could I work, doing what I love was simply impos- sible as I couldn’t see to decorate or faux paint. No longer could I even watch TV. I couldn’t pick out my own clothes, couldn’t make myself a sandwich or anything to eat in my own kitchen, couldn’t see sunsets or sunrises, couldn’t walk through stores without being led.” Her career as an artist and inte- rior designer came to a screeching halt. “Being blind is one of the most devastating disabilities known to man,” she said. But, before long, Graham’s amaz- 48 ing spirit and determination began to take over. She began looking for ways to make life better for others. “Anyone who knows me knows that I can be extremely stubborn,” she said. “I was determined not to stay down for too long. I researched online. That led us to The National Brain Tumor Society, which conduct- ed a brain tumor walk in Fort Worth around October/November of 2012. I was determined to help raise money to find a cure for the disease that had sidelined me and taken away the life that I loved. I formed a team called Crazy T’s Tumor Fighters. I contract- ed with a local firm to print up team t-shirts with my ‘brain man’ logo splashed across the front.”  Her devoted husband Bill Graham drove her from business to business. “Using all the charm that I could muster, I talked businesses into becoming sponsors for the cause, their name listed on the back of my team shirts. I managed to raise over $3,700 for brain tumor research.”  The 5K walk was held one rainy Saturday that November. Since then, Graham has nurtured a growing passion for raising money for causes she believes in. Graham is passionate about volunteering at Lighthouse For The Blind, she’s helped design events and decorations for several events there, and she has helped out putting on various church events. “My neuron-oncologist invited me to join a group called Head For The Cure, which is instrumental in raising money for brain tumor research at UT Southwestern Dallas,” Graham said. Again, she took to fundraising like a duck to water. Head For The Cure holds their 5K walks in Plano in May of each year. Graham fired up the Crazy T’s Tumor Fighter team again, rede- signing the logo for her shirts and More Graham creations enlist- ing sponsors to raise money. Crazy T’s Tumor Fighters raised $6,300 for brain tumor research in 2016. “My husband and I walked the 5K walk arm-in-arm,” she said. At this year’s Head For The Cure, giving she and her team were able to raise $7,200, taking fourth place. “Both my husband and I are extreme- ly proud of our fundraising efforts,” she said. Graham’s life has changed dramatically and so quickly. She rare ly sees a good many of her long- time friends. They’ve moved on, but so has she. “My husband and I started going dancing a few years ago at Rodeo Exchange in the Fort Worth Stockyards,” she said. “I have some truly good friends like Ric and Sonya Morrison and Jenny Kercheval who go above and beyond to help me raise money for a cause they know is dear to my heart. Their kindness and friendship is something I will never forget. Rodeo Exchange is a true diamond in the rough, a place where you can meet genuinely true and caring people. From my family, my Aunt Donna works tirelessly to spread the word to family and coworkers about my events and fund- raising efforts. She is also my rock, to whom I vent when things aren’t going well. She is truly my best friend and has been most of my life.” Graham is never bitter. Her life is very different from the life that she lived before her blindness, but it’s a good life. She is constantly working on plans to resume her art career. With the sort of tenacity Graham possesses, it’s very likely that she’ll succeed. But Graham also has a burning drive to help others who have lost their ability to see. “I’ve learned a lot in the past seven years,” Graham said. “I’d love to provide some kind of support for others.” She’s living with as much enthu- siasm as she’s able to muster. She’s always moving forward. “I know that God has a purpose for me,” she said. “I know it’s some- thing big and wonderful.”