(see story update below)
On April 2nd, 2013 Kaitlyn Duhaime was diagnosed with an anoxic brain injury. She spent 2 weeks in a drug-induced coma, and when she finally opened her eyes she saw five family members offering her their love and support. The first thing she remembers hearing is her Aunt Mickey saying, “Katie, you are strong… you will come out ten times better.”
Her injury happened a month and 19 days before her 21st birthday. That summer she was supposed to get her drivers license. That fall she was supposed to start college, and had already signed up for classes. These dreams were put on hold, and some said she would never be able to achieve them. They also told her mother that she would remain in a wheel chair for the rest of her life.
Kate had to re-learn how to walk, talk, dress, and feed herself. She went to extensive rehabilitation and began her journey back toward living a meaningful life.
Since the fall of 2017 she has been taking classes at Manchester Community College to get her Lead Teachers Certificate, and she’ll accomplish that goal in May. She began working at a child care center in Manchester on January 30th 2017, starting out as a Child Care Assistant. In the winter of 2017, Kate got her associates credits, which is 9 credits for Early Childhood Education for the State of New Hampshire. Now she’s a Lead Teacher at the same child care center.
After spending time living with a provider to help her with some of her daily activities, Kate finally got her own apartment on March 30th, 2019. She’s worked incredibly hard to restore her independence and is fully capable of doing her own cooking, cleaning, and homework, while also maintaining a social life. Her next goal is to get her New Hampshire driver’s license within the next year.
Kate has also become a champion for others who experience brain injury, and will be participating in events to help bring awareness and support to help them. She’s participating in a fundraising walk for the Brain Injury Association of New Hampshire, whose mission is to create a better future through brain injury prevention, education, advocacy, and support. To support Kate’s fundraising effort, please visit Kate’s fundraising page.
She’s also participating in Miss Amazing, a national competition whose goal is to inspire girls with disabilities to do amazing things by testing their boundaries and building their confidence.
Kate has already beaten the odds and is continuing to focus on building the life she’s always imagined for herself. Her story is truly an inspiration for us all, and especially those who are forging ahead against great odds themselves. We wish her great success as she continues on her amazing journey!
Story Update: Miss Amazing 2020 New Hampshire Sr. Miss Queen
Congratulations to Kaitlyn Duhaime, who was selected as the 2020 NH Sr. Miss Queen in the NH Miss Amazing pageant! She’s an amazing supporter of our community and has worked hard to raise awareness and funds for the Brain Injury Association of New Hampshire.
Special thanks to her awesome coaches and support team, Brianna Hayward and Chelsea Collender. Their commitment has helped Kaitlyn achieve many of her goals.
Here’s her pageant video: