Inspirational. Brilliant. Caring.
These are just a few words that come to mind when I think about Dr. Jennifer Arnold.
Dr. Arnold is currently the Medical Director of a state-of-the-art simulation center at Texas Children’s Hospital and is a practicing neonatologist at the largest NICU in the country.
She stands at just 3 feet 2 inches tall, and has a rare type of dwarfism called Spondyloepiphyseal Dysplasia Type Strudwick. The inherited disorder caused her to have more than 30 surgeries when she was just a child.
Her size isn’t what makes her special. It’s her energy. She is filled with purposefulness to improve the lives of those with disabilities.
Most people know Dr. Arnold from TLC’s docu-drama, The Little Couple, which follows her and her husband’s personal and professional lives. The show is in its 7th season!
I am almost embarrassed to say that I had no idea who Dr. Arnold was up until a few nights ago. I was invited to emcee the Healthy Woman Gala by South Baldwin Regional Medical Center again this year, and Dr. Arnold was the guest speaker.
I am so glad that I was invited back this year. It was truly a treat.
The event is all about empowering women to make better choices about their health. There’s a health fair, and a special dinner, when the audience is treated to a guest speaker. In years past guest speakers have included: Abby Rike, winner of the Biggest Loser season 8, Elizabeth Smart, and Barbara Dooley, the wife of former University of Georgia football coach Vince Dooley.
These woman have such remarkable success stories –each one fought through seemingly insurmountable challenges. They didn’t just focus on the victories and brag about their accomplishments…rather they gave details…specific tutorials almost…on how anyone in their situation can rise up with grace.
What I took away from Dr. Arnold was her passion. This is a woman that I doubt has any regrets, or lets anyone tell her it’s impossible.
Dr. Arnold loves being a physician. She told me that she was inspired to go into the medical field by the neurologist that cared for her when she was just a little girl. Impressed by his compassion and determination –she set forth on the same path.
She talked about the uphill battle people with disabilities face, like the fact that only an estimated 0.2% of medical school graduates have disabilities. But her message to those who have odds stacked high against them –“You can do it! Just think big.”
T.H.I.N.K. B.I.G. is an acronym:
T is for try. “You never know what you can accomplish in life unless you first try.”
H is for hope. “Nothing can be accomplished without the hope of accomplishment.”
I is for initiate. “What first step can you take today towards the goal you want to achieve.”
N is for no. “Never listen to the nos.”
K is for know. “Know your limitations.”
B is for believe.”Never stop believing.”
I is for improve. “Once you’ve achieve your goal in life, always continue to strive to improve.”
G is for go. “Identify one thing you are going to do and just go for it.”
It’s the formula, per se that Dr. Arnold says ushered her to the woman she is today…a woman many describe as: powerful, engaging, humble and a healer.
What mountains will you climb today?