Highlighting Traumatic Brain Injury and Life Transformation Against the Odds, Ms. Arizona Has Been Named Ms. Elite U.S. Woman of Achievement-2017

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After an accident that left her son with a Traumatic Brain Injury, Arizona mom's mental and physical transformation has catapulted her to the National Woman of Achievement title, as well as a separate Fitness Award and a Platform Grant for her work with TBI Caregivers.

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Kim Jones

"When someone receives a brain injury, it is time to mourn that person and welcome a new person to the relationship. The person you once knew is gone in most cases. In their place is a new individual with a different personality, different goals."

Proving it is never too late to transform a life, Kim Summerall Jones, an Arizona mom and advocate for caregivers nationwide has captured the 2017 Ms. U.S. Woman of Achievement title at the pageant held on November 6th on the Queen Mary in Long Beach, CA. Appearing fit and elegant, with her new husband by her side, Kim admitted the years leading up to winning the pageant could hardly be deemed "easy." When asked about what she had overcome, Jones disclosed that life handed her its first big surprise when she was told she would not be able to conceive children. Not deterred, she looked into adoption and was able to adopt both of her children as infants. For several years, Jones enjoyed life as a wife and mom but just when her children hit 12 and 15, her husband was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. In just 14 months, he passed away. "I remember contacting the funeral home the next day and being told they did not take credit cards. I sold a small tractor we had for $9,000 to pay for my husband's funeral that same week. As a single working mother, I realized I was now the sole provider for my children."

To downsize, Jones put her house on the market and 10 months after losing her spouse, she received the call no mother wants to receive. Both children had been involved in a catastrophic car accident and her son had suffered a traumatic brain injury. During her son's 40 day coma, she was told her son would never be able to finish school, live on his own or have his own life. He has since gone on to finish high school and is now enrolled in college. While she was overjoyed at his progress and recovery, in her Woman of Achievement speech Jones shared that, in many ways, her son had become a stranger after his accident.

"When someone receives a brain injury, it is time to mourn that person and welcome a new person to the relationship. The person you once knew is gone in most cases. In their place is a new individual with a different personality, different goals, and unique abilities," Kim stated.

Within 3 years of her son's accident, Jones was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety. Her worries had also resulted in weight gain, poor job performance and dangerously high cholesterol. The marching orders from her doctor were simple: "Get this under control because your son has no one to care for him." She immediately signed up with a trainer, kicked the drive-through food habit and began to see big results in her physique and attitude. At one point, she even signed up for a body-building competition.

Now, a sought-after speaker, Kim currently travels throughout Arizona and other parts of the country to speak on such topics as: "Fit after 40" "Women's Inspiration" and "Care for the Caregiver." Her award-winning platform issue in Woman of Achievement was focusing on caregiver resources.

"The good news is that because there are over 5.3 million sufferers of Traumatic Brain Injury ("TBI"), there are resources available for the victim. Unfortunately, there is little support for the caregiver. This is where we come in. "TBI: Survive and Thrive!" provides a community of resources, ideas, and practical tips for caregivers of TBI survivors." Kim is looking forward to her year of service as Ms. Elite U.S. Woman of Achievement speaking on overcoming the odds and identifying the resources to overcome any challenge.

For more information on the Woman of Achievement National Program or Kim Summerall Jones, please contact http://www.womanofachievement.org.

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Marlena Martin
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