Sara Beth Vaughn might be one of the most upbeat people in America. Despite being diagnosed with spastic cerebral palsy as an infant, she sees this “disability” as a blessing and has dedicated her life to helping others. At twenty-nine years old, Sara Beth says her life has had both difficult challenges and empowering triumphs. She focuses more on the latter and believes pain and suffering can be used for the greater good.
Sara Beth was born three and a half months premature on August 13, 1987, at St. Mary’s Hospital in Evansville, Indiana. She weighed 1.7 pounds. Tiny Sara Beth was put in an incubator, dependent upon a staggering amount of machines to live. The miracle baby spent the first three months of her life in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit.
Fortunately for Sara Beth, a local group of Hadi Shriners stepped in to cover expenses for medical assessments, screenings, and procedures. They sent her to Shriners Hospitals for Children in St. Louis, where Sara Beth had eight surgeries between the ages of three and eighteen, mostly before she was five.
For the past four years, the five-foot-tall ball of energy has been an assessment specialist at a nonprofit, working to prevent and end homelessness in the Evansville area. Sara Beth is an advocate for at-risk individuals, directing people to services, programs, and housing options to get those in need back on their feet. Sara Beth has many roles, but the most important to her is restoring people’s hope.
She is committed to raising awareness for Shriners, whose organization supports children and their families. Wanting to give back, Sara Beth has been a guest speaker at Shriners Hospitals events, sharing how the Shriners’ generosity and compassion changed her life. She also has volunteered for the local Hadi Shrine center’s fundraisers. Sara Beth shares “the power of positive thinking” with corporations, universities, prisons, shelters, and groups as a motivational speaker.
Sara Beth’s story of positive thinking and giving back is one of ten accounts in my upcoming book, (Extra)Ordinary: More Inspirational Stories of Everyday People, which will be released on October 10, 2017. To read Sara Beth’s story, pre-order your paperback or ebook copy at http://kicamprojects.com/shop/extraordinary-more/.