Quadriplegic Jesa Lopez Gets Involved and Moves on with her Life

Jesa Lopez has always loved the spotlight.

Jesa Lopez has always loved the spotlight.

Editor’s Note: Jesa Lopez of Oklahoma, an avid dancer, had planned to travel the United States with a dance troupe and forego her senior year in high school to begin her dancing career as soon as possible. But then life put a huge obstacle in her way – an insurmountable obstacle, most would believe. However, at 32-years old today, the dancer in Jesa Lopez wouldn’t allow her to give-up on her dream. Not only does she dance today, but she has a new goal and a new challenge to teach the wheelchair world how to dance. Part 3 of a 5 part series. 

One of the real advantages that Lopez had was that she had great friends who included her in all their activities, including going to the river, riding on jet skis and riding horses. “Whatever they were doing I was doing,” Lopez explains. “When we’d go to the river, one of my friends would get on the jet ski behind me and hold me on the jet ski, while the other friend drove. When we’d get in the boat, they’d put me in the boat and prop me up so I wouldn’t fall over.” Lopez met a man in rehab who had been a jockey and was injured while riding. His love for horses and riding was so strong that he built himself a saddle with a back on it and a strap that allowed him to sit upright and ride. After Lopez got out of the hospital, she went to his farm and rode horses with him.

Jesa started to enjoy life again.

Jesa started to enjoy life again.

When in college, Lopez’s only interest was psychology. Lopez admits that before her accident she was very attention-seeking. “I would go into every class in high school late, so that everyone would turn around and look at me. I was always performing or up in front of the class. I always wanted to be onstage, I always wanted to be noticed and have people watch me perform. After my wreck, when I was in a wheelchair, I didn’t want anyone to notice me. If I was late to class in college, I wouldn’t go, because my position in every classroom was on the front row. If I dropped something, everyone in class would jump up to help me pick it up. I really hated being in front of people, since unlike high school where everyone looked at me when I was performing or I because I had cool clothes or my makeup was just right, instead, people were looking at me wondering what had happened to me. After a year, I quit school because my grades were terrible. I don’t think I was ready to be out in public. I just hung out in my apartment with the friends I had made at college, but then they all graduated from college, got married and started having kids.

Jesa was ready to face the world again after her accident.

Jesa was ready to face the world again after her accident.

“Finally after 2 or 3 years, I rediscovered myself. I decided I needed to return to college. I took courses in dealing with victims of crime, and while in school, I worked at a shelter for victims of domestic violence. I volunteered at first for extra credits for college, but after my internship ended, the organization asked me to work for them permanently. Just before my last semester in college with only three courses left to finish, I got a promotion at work. I quit my last semester of college, because I felt like if I didn’t take the promotion now this opportunity wouldn’t be there when I got out of college.” But not long after Lopez accepted the promotion, new people started running the shelter and bought in their own supervisors. Lopez’s new job and promotion were given to someone else, but she stayed at the shelter and went back to her old position. She took a second job working at a suicide hotline where individuals could dial #211 and talk to a counselor if they were feeling suicidal. The #211 line was not only for individuals considering suicide but also a clearinghouse for anyone in need.

Next: Jesa Lopez Turns Disaster into Dance

About the Author: For the last 12 years, John E. Phillips of Vestavia, Alabama, has been a professional blogger for major companies, corporations and tourism associations throughout the nation. During his 24 years as Outdoor Editor for “The Birmingham Post-Herald” newspaper, he published more than 7,000 newspaper columns and sold more than 100,000 of his photos to newspapers, magazines and internet sites. He also hosted a radio show that was syndicated at 27 radio stations; created, wrote and sold a syndicated newspaper column that ran in 38 newspapers for more than a decade; and wrote and sold more than 30 books. Learn more at http://www.nighthawkpublications.com

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