Auger & Auger is happy to announce that Haley Avery is one of the recipients of our 2018 Spring Semester Disabled Scholar Award. These $1,000 scholarships are presented twice a year to high-achieving students across America who have worked hard to overcome the perceived limits of their disability. They have achieved excellence in and out of the classroom, and they have made a positive impact on their community.
In the summer of 2012, Hailey awoke one morning to find herself unable to get out of bed. Struck with sudden paraplegia, she was rushed into emergency surgery. Over the next 20 months, she endured 13 major surgeries to remove cysts along her spine. These surgeries left her with a variety of ongoing issues, including recurring paralysis.
Looking back on her ongoing struggles, one thing became abundantly clear: Hailey refused to be defeated, to give up or to lose. She made up her mind that she would overcome this obstacle. Hailey chose to combat her challenges with resilience and strength and her determination is to be greatly admired.
Due to her previous surgeries and continuing spinal cord abnormalities, Hailey has gained a new sense of empathy for others. She’s found that what she has gone through isn’t unique in the sense that we all have something we are suffering through. In addition, Hailey has learned that not all struggles are physical, and this has helped her as she has succeeded in her academic studies and in her professional pursuits.
Most of Hailey’s surgeries occurred during her freshman and sophomore years of high school and because of this she completed her studies online. Employers that review her academic records have asked her about this and at first it made her uncomfortable. At that point she was more private and guarded about discussing matters related to her health. Her point of view on this matter has since changed. She now believes that her struggles with her spine have given her a new perspective and have allowed her to connect with others. Hailey has become a lot more accepting of herself and is able to use her own experiences as a way to relate to and communicate with other people.
Hailey is currently a student at Arizona State University at Tempe-Barrett, The Honors College. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance with certifications in International Business Studies and Data Analytics, with a minor in Russian. After she completes her undergraduate education, she plans to work for a government agency for a few years. She hopes to then either go on to get an MBA or go to Law School. She has even thought about potentially working in tax law matters as future career path.
Her advice to anyone enduring a physical or mental struggle is to never give up. “Although you’re often limited by your struggles, you can always push past them and change your world for the better,” she said. “I initially thought I’d never be able to walk again. I’d never finish high school and go onto college. Now, I’m doing things that I have never dreamt of. The world and your situation do not limit you. Your mind is the only thing that sets you back from your dreams.”
It was a rainy Tuesday afternoon in June, 1998. Five year old Christina McCarthy was riding in the car with her mother and younger sister when the vehicle went out of control and hydroplaned into a ditch. Many of us cannot turn to one singular, life-changing event, but this was the day that Christina’s life was immeasurably altered.
The accident left her with a collapsed lung, a fractured skull, and a severed spine; injuries which left her wheelchair-bound and subject to numerous surgeries over the past 17 years. Now, at 22, in spite of everything she has had to face and overcome, Christina’s outlook on life continues to be radiant. She perseveres in spite of the odds and is currently attending college.
“As a personal injury law firm, our attorneys frequently represent families who are coping with the aftermath of serious injuries and disabling impairments. We observe firsthand the unique challenges that disabled men and women face and see the strength and perseverance necessary to overcome expectations,” says firm founding partner, Herb Auger.
As part of the firm’s efforts to give back to the disabled community, Auger & Auger is sponsoring a $1,000 scholarship, given twice a year, to assist with tuition and expenses at a qualifying undergraduate institution.
Christina admits paying for college has “…been a bit of an issue,” but has resolved that, “No matter what life throws at me, whatever loops and turns I am forced to endure, and no matter how long it takes, I will accomplish my goal.” She is currently pursuing a psychology degree and plans to work in a rehabilitation hospital with others who have spinal injuries. She believes that her unique situation will forge a bond with those intends to serve.
“Not often do you come across a young person with the type of determination and resolve Christina exhibits,” says firm founding partner, Herb Auger. “She embodies the spirit with which this scholarship was created.”
Attributing her resilience to her family and friends who, she says, have gone above and beyond anything she could have expected when it comes to their support for her, she also ascertains, “I am very capable and determined to work hard and become the best person for the job. Bring it on.”
When asked what words of encouragement she would give a child faced with the same circumstances as she was, her advice is to “Love yourself and believe in yourself. Life does get better.”
With the help of the Auger and Auger Disabled Scholar Award, Christina is one step closer to her intended goal. Her outlook is beyond inspirational. You can sense the fire that drives her to continue to face what others may find insurmountable. As she moves forward with passion and embraces her personal mantra – “Put on a smile, and everything will be alright” – we congratulate Christina on her scholarship win and look forward to seeing her achieve continued greatness.