My name is Jamie Nemec and I am 23 years old. I have lived my entire life in a rural community outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I graduated high school from Central Bucks East High School in 2008 and then went on to Bloomsburg University to earn my degree in Secondary Education English, where I graduated from on December 15th, 2012.

While these facts do feed into the true outline of my life, they are really only a one dimensional version of my story. More importantly is the part of me that is about to embark on the journey of a lifetime, and how this part of me came to be. 

I was born to parents whose priorities were everywhere but children. When I was 9 years old, my living situation fortunately borderlined dangerous. I say fortunately, because this is when my grandmother decided to take me in. For 11 years, I was raised by the hand of a saint. While there were many times throughout my life that I wished for nothing more than a normal family, I have grown into a greater realization. Any "normal" family wouldn't have given me the gifts that my grandmother did. She taught me responsibility, told me to travel the world, and pushed me towards every goal. 

During those 11 years, our family continued to face its mountains; my birth mother in and out of rehab, my father dying suddenly, my grandmother being diagnosed with breast cancer. My sister, my best friend dying in a car crash right on our street. My grandmother fought these battles for herself and everyone else. Until finally, cancer proved itself to be the mountain that couldn't be conquered. 

These are the people and memories that have molded who I am. While, these struggles were at times unbearable, I have to appreciate the strength they have given me. I only hope I can pass that strength on to others who may need it, to show others how to be resilient. My grandmother's second greatest gift to me was her love, but her first greatest gift was teaching me to bounce back.
  When life got hard, her expectations got harder. 

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