Standing Tall

Submitted by: Jane Birr

Jenni's Success Story

What is possible for you? In today’s feature, prepare to get inspired by Jenni Ulrich. I had the great pleasure of having Jenni in my 12 Week “Just Get it Over With” Personal Conditioning class at UW-Green Bay. Jenni unleashed her dream of acquiring a standing wheelchair and then worked through a ton of obstacles to get it. What are you willing to fight for?

Q. Jenni“how does it feel to stand for the first time in your
A. When you look down and you see the floor it was quite scary at first. But after I got over the fact that I am at "normal" height, I was flying high with a whole new world staring me straight in the face!

Q.What is different?
A. The difference is that people start seeing me as a fully capable person and not a person that they should feel sorry for. I now can
stand up to be able to order food or go to a high counter and have a person see me and not sit there waiting to get assistance.

I feel my self-esteem rising higher and higher and know there is no limit to what I want to do now. Dreams really do come true!

Q. What did it take to get it?
A. This chair took a lot of hard work and determination. I had to jump through hoops and dive in and out of holes to find the one
route that was going to lead me to my goal. I wrote over 120 letters to congressmen, senators, and even the president. Then I
went to ADRC (Aging and Disability Resource Center). These people where the first to stand by my side and say yes, I need it, and
we will find a way to get it to you. I do believe that the “Just Get it Over With” Personal Conditioning class I took with, you, Jane,
helped me to stay focused on my goal and to not give up through the ups and downs because there was so many times I just
wanted to say, “ Stop. I give up!” The class helped me to visualize the light at the end and help give me the strength to reach my
goal. thank you so much Jane!

Q. You are welcome! Jenni, before achieving your standing chair goal, you entered the Bellin 10K race and made it to the finish line. What did you learn?

A. My physical and occupational therapists talked me into doing it. I was leery in doing it because 6.2 miles scared me a lot. But when my therapist said they will walk next me and never leave me, I felt better and was willing to do it. When I got to the starting line, I do admit I was wondering what in the world did I get myself into but I just told myself I got this far no turning back now,onward. It took me two hours to make the entire 6.2 miles and I and I had blisters all over my hands. One my therapists told me that she was so proud of me because I took a goal and reached for it and accomplished it all by myself with just a little encouragement from her. I was so proud of myself! I believe that is what helped the fire to grow inside me to know that if I do put something to mind, I can accomplish anything no matter how physically or mentally difficult it may be. Anything is possible!

Q. What advice do you have for others who are going for their goals?

A.Go for your dreams. Perseverance is key. Do not let others tell you that you can't do something because your heart is what tells you what you can do. Get others involved with your dream. They
could possibly be the one to help from the road to the destination. And don't ever give up! No matter how far or hard it may be, the road will only make the reward that much more memorable.

Q. Your story just fires me up!Anything else?

A. Go for your dreams. Never give up. Stay smiling through the ups and downs because you never know who is watching and you just might spark a dream and a goal for someone else so
get out there. Let’s make a chain event!


Jenni Before


Jenni After