Sherri Connell is the recipient of the first IDA Founders Honors Award because Sherri has used her personal tragedy and made it her purpose to bring awareness and to be a voice for people who are living with debilitating chronic illness, pain and injury and for that we thank her for her vision and inspiration.
All of her life, Sherri was goal-oriented and ambitious. She had health issues from the time she was 14, but nothing could stand in her way. Sherri sang and danced in musicals, acted in commercials, was a cheerleader, modeled in fashion shows, worked as a book-keeper and obtained 3 college degrees.
Yet, at the age of 27, her active life suddenly came to a halt when she became seriously ill, hospitalized and diagnosed with Progressive Multiple Sclerosis and Lyme Disease. Despite Sherri’s “nothing can stop me attitude,” she never recovered from daily debilitating pain, fatigue and cognitive impairments. Many people did not believe she was disabled, because to them she “LOOKED” fine!
After struggling with this heart-wrenching issue time and again, Sherri began to write about living with what she called, “Invisible Disabilities.” Her husband, Wayne, put some of her writings on the internet for friends and family to read. Beyond her wildest dreams, the word spread like wildfire and countless emails began to pour in from people around the globe. Hence, IDA was born!