Jacksonville resident Sharon Hoffmeyer is a busy woman. She has three children, works part time at the Jacksonville Transportation Authority, Chairs Mayor Brown's Disability Council, all while finding time to advocate for those with disabilities. She also has Muscular Dystrophy.
Muscular Dystrophy (MD) is a hereditary condition marked by progressive weakening and deterioration of the muscles. Sharon's condition affects her face, legs, and shoulders.
Sharon never let her condition slow her down. "I wake up every morning with a choice, I can stay home in my pj's, and if I did, I know that no one would judge me." said Sharon. "But, I choose to live a life different than that."
She was originally born in Naples, Italy and moved to the States at the age of 11. Sharon believes that she inherited (MD) from her mother. "My mom also had MD, just a slighter form than me."
One day when Sharon bent down to pick her daughter up, she noticed her arm wasn't working. "I knew at that moment, something was wrong." Soon after that she went to see her doctor. At first, Sharon was misdiagnosed. As time went on though, she kept falling. Finally, she met with a neurologist, and was diagnosed with MD in her early 20's. By 2008, Sharon was no longer able to walk.
None of this stopped Sharon from achieving her personal goals. In 2010 she received her bachelor's degree in legal studies, while still having her three children at home. She went on to work at a law firm, but her condition continued to progress, and eventually she had to quit working in 2011.
Determined is just one word to describe Hoffmeyer. She began working again at JTA, and chairs the Mayor Brown's Disability Council. "I love the work I do on the Council," said Sharon. "It's not just about me anymore, we are actually improving the lives of other people through our work."
Advocacy is a large part of Sharon's daily life. She is also teaching her 11 year old son, Adam how to advocate for himself. Adam is hearing impaired. "Adam is an advocate for himself, he learns this by watching me." Sharon said she can see that Adam has a heart for people and advocacy already.
Sharon's positivity is not limited to her son. She impacts everyone around her. Council Member for the Mayor's Disability Council, Tyler Morris said she is inspiration to the people in her everyday life. "Sharon is a positive influence to everyone she meets."
"A positive attitude just comes to me," said Sharon. "It's a part of survival, I decided long ago to not dwell on my situation, but to always keep moving forward." said Sharon.