I learned about Anissa Mayhew in November of 2009, when #PrayersForAnissa became a trending topic on Twitter. (This is a big deal non-tweeps. It means that out of the millions of people on Twitter, praying for Anissa was one of the most popular topics.) Anissa had a stroke for the second time in four years and the twitterverse held its collective breath and prayed. A huge majority of the other “Mommy Bloggers” I follow on Twitter were sharing personal stories of how Anissa had touched their lives. Some people knew her in real life or had met her at blogging conferences but many were simply cyber-friends– people who had faithfully read her blogs, felt like they knew her and had been inspired by her story.
And I said BLOGS for a reason. Anissa has three: her personal blog, FreeAnissa; Hope4Peyton, a blog she started when her child was diagnosed with leukemia, and Aiming Low, a website with a freaking sense of humor about parenting.
Anyone who has recovered from two strokes, nursed her child through leukemia and still has the sense of humor to change the tagline of her blog to “Wheelchairs are The New Black,” is somebody you need to know. Personally, I know a lot of my friends, family and readers have been facing devastation like never before and I wanted to share the story of a true survivor with them.
If you don’t know her already, it is my pleasure to introduce you to the awesomeness that is Anissa Mayhew.
Holy crap woman. You have been through some stuff. Not only do you have a child who beat cancer but you have recovered from several strokes. What has gotten you through these events?
It’s never about just ONE thing that got me through these events. It was my family pulling together. It was my friends being there for me. It was writing to have this place to dump myself. It was the support I found from people I may never meet who became so important to me. It was learning to be proud of things most find insignificant. It is learning to be humble enough to ask for help when you need it. It has ALWAYS been about finding the core of myself that can still genuinely laugh at circumstances.
I first heard about you when #PrayersforAnissa began trending on Twitter and literally every single “Mommy Blogger” I know and/or was following started talking about how freaking awesome you are. I didn’t even know you but I was praying. What did you think of all the attention, love and support you had during this time?
I had to check and make sure no one was promising candy on my behalf! It BLEW ME AWAY. When I came home from the hospital and learned the support went beyond the postcards and get-well cards, I just cried. I had nothing else to do with enormous feeling inside me.
I love, LOVE your sense of humor. Seriously. Free Anissa? Wheelchairs are The New Black? Genius AND you make some serious lemonade out of some big a$$ lemons. Do you feel like a different version of yourself sense your stroke? Do people treat you differently?
Even though the writing is different and the surface image is different, it’s a comfort to realize that everything’s still the same. Free Anissa was a blog name BEFORE I ever had a stroke. It just changed meanings. I think that’s the story of my life. Things just keep freaking changing.
How did you get the idea for Aiming Low? When did you launch the site?
I launched the site June 2009. My good friend Janet Dean and I had been to a conference and just felt there was an important message in “good enough IS good enough”. I wrote the name on a napkin. I relaunched the site you love now with the writing staff of AWESOME last year. It has been a big part of my recovery and finding the strength to keep pushing.
I’m sure everyone wants to know how your health is now. And how is sweet Peyton?
Anissa and Aiming Low are doing their best to support disaster relief throughout the Southeast. See that disaster relief button on the right side of your page? I totally stole it from Aiming Low. If Anissa’s story touched you, if you go to Aiming Low and laugh until you wet your pants, or go to Hope4Peyton or FreeAnissa and laugh until you cry, I double dog dare you to click on the disaster relief button. It will take you to a donation page for the Red Cross. Every penny helps.
Aiming Low will be at the Type-A blogging conference in Asheville, NC, July 23-25 2011 and hosting the “Come As You Are” party at the Blogher Conference in August 2011 in San Diego. Everybody who’s anybody will be there. Which means I’ll be here, but still, YOU should go. I would if I could and if I win the lottery before then or if Wal-Mart decides they want to sponsor my blog, I’ll definitely go.