Winning Essay by Tae’ler P., Southern University and A&M College

I have been fortunate enough to encounter many individuals who have inspired/motivated me in some way. However, I take immense pride and honor in saying that my mother, Kisha Henry, has been the greatest inspiration in my life. Not only is she the best mother a child could ask for, she is my very best friend. One way that she had been an inspiration to me, is that she discovered long before I was born that her purpose on this earth was to help people. Working seventeen years as a medical assistant at Ochsner Hospital, my mother made it her mission to bring light and love to any and every one she met. If you were to ask her about it today, she would tell you, “If I can help somebody as I pass along, then my living shall not be in vein.” One of the many things she has taught me was to treat others how I wanted to be treated. Anyone who is in need, whether it be physical, emotional, financial, or any other way, my mother would give her last so that someone wouldn’t go without.

When you hear the name Kisha Henry, it may not spark any emotion, or ring any bells, but to anyone who knows her, we associate her name with strength. It is also because of her strength that I am the person I am today. It all started the week before I started the ninth grade. August of 2013, my mother’s heart began to fail her, and she needed a heart transplant. Before she could get it, she had to be put on a waiting list, and receive an LVAD, which would be a bag of batteries connected to her heart in order to keep her alive. This was a very hard time for me and my family because we had no idea what would happen to her. I should also mention that some people wait years to receive a heart. This was literally the life or death situation I would hear about on television. But instead, it was happening in my own life.

Throughout this journey my mother was a soldier. Even though my mom was sick, she was the positive than anyone around. She had so much faith that everything would be okay. This forced me to learn how to be strong for her. Fast forward to January 12th 2014, she received a phone call saying they found her a heart that was a perfect match. The experience taught me that life is short, and to never take any day for granted—because you never know when it could be your last.

My mom got a second chance and for that, I am forever grateful. As a single mother, who did not finish college, my mother, has taught me work ethic, responsibility, and the value of an education. Kisha Henry motivates me every day to achieve greatness; this includes inspiring me to obtain a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Nursing.


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