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Cindy Parsons always credits her son, United States Army Sergeant Shane Parsons, as her inspiration to do more with life.
Shane’s father died just six months after he was born, leaving Cindy a widow at age 29. She had to muster all the strength she had to raise her son alone. They made it through that difficult time, but soon after Shane joined the Army in August 2004, Cindy’s strength would once again be tested.
“Watching the devastation that occurred when our country was attacked on September 11 validated his desire to protect our nation,” says Cindy. “He enlisted a month after graduating from
While deployed in Iraq in 2006, anti-coalition forces attacked Shane’s convoy. He suffered a severe brain injury and two cardiac arrests. In addition, he sustained substantial injuries to his legs and ultimately underwent surgery for bilateral above-the-knee amputations.
Through patience, love, and determination, Cindy helped Shane through the long road to recovery. At first, the pressure on Shane’s brain was so severe, doctors had to put him in a medically induced coma. Later, as he regained consciousness, both Cindy and Shane prepared for their new normal.
“He had to relearn everything,” she says. “He didn’t know anyone and simply called everyone ‘Grandma.’”
As caregiver, Cindy says she still worries about the future for her son. After 15 surgeries and with her help, Shane is improving every day as he works on his speech, social skills, occupational and physical therapy, and managing the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). “He’s alive, and he’s a precious gift. I’m honored to be his mother, and I’m proud of all the men and women who serve our country.”
Because of her experience with Shane, Cindy became his caretaker and a strong advocate for wounded service members. She participated in the Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) Caregiver Summit in Washington, DC, in 2009. While there, Cindy lobbied Congress for the passage of the Caregiver and Veteran Omnibus Health Service Act of 2010 – a bill providing assistance and support for caregivers of injured servicemen and women returning from war.
In addition to her advocacy work for injured servicemen and women, Cindy is a licensed registered nurse, serves on the board of the Brain Injury Association of Ohio, and is a member of both the Findlay Old Millstream Toastmasters Club and the National Speaker’s Association. She holds an associate degree in applied science and is a lifetime member of Psi Beta: National Honor Society in Psychology. She currently lives in Ohio.