My name is Tracy, and I am a 2014 UCB Family Epilepsy Scholarship winner. I am a single mom of two wonderful adult sons. Dwayne Harris, Jr. has a doctorate in business administration, and Dmaine Harris has double master's degrees in lean manufacturing and business administration.
I have had many challenges in my life, but I will highlight some. I had head trauma from domestic violence in 1990, which is the reason I suffer from epilepsy. Also, I am a cancer and stroke survivor.
Even though these challenges have made me stronger, it was knowing I was not fighting for myself but my sons' futures. So when my sons were grade school age, we agreed to all get our master's.
Unfortunately, I fell short of completing the journey before them with my life challenges, but I always kept the faith. I kept that vision of me walking across the stage receiving my master's degree.
Even though I suffer from epilepsy from a devastating event, finding a UCB scholarship shed light and gave me that extra hope that someone is fighting for a disease that has changed my life forever.
In 2014 I was faced with postponing my education due to running out of financial aid. At that time, I did not have far to go with completing my BA in human services. However, during class, one of my instructors talked about scholarships and how they can help further your education. Not only was I a winner, but UCB flew my youngest son and me out to Seattle, Washington, and presented me with the $5,000 award. My youngest son needed to see that good-hearted people still existed.
My youngest son was a part of the tragedy in 1990. He was three weeks old, and I was rocking him to sleep, when abruptly, I had to try to escape that violent situation to reach the phone to call 911.
Trying to keep my baby safe and call for help was scary. Then, I was struck in the back of the head. I was losing consciousness; the phone fell out of my hand, and I gripped my baby closer to my chest. I was out for 45 minutes judging by the program on the TV.
My son was still asleep on my chest. My son knows that is why I have seizures. He has watched me struggle, and that reward ceremony gave my son hope.
I graduated with my master's degree in mental health counseling in 2019. I am currently practicing at Pathways 2 Counseling Center in Warren, Michigan, sharing with my clients that life happens to all, but life becomes more powerful, bearable, and durable if we face life issues together. I am also a minister, motivational speaker and currently working on my book. Future goals are to become a mental health trauma specialist and to open my counseling center.