How do you re-invent, much less find the strength to get up and go on, after your son is fighting for life after being hurt by a drunk driver, and that driver happens to be his father?
Meet Joyce Adejumo. Her three-year old son Fred Leon “Mitchie” Mitchell was paralyzed below the waist as a result of his father driving drunk and crashing while returning him home after a weekend visitation. At that moment, everything stood still for Adejumo, who is divorced from Mitchie’s father.
“Re-inventing is getting and picking up after everything has fallen apart. You declare to self that you will not fail, this won’t kill me and a determination to succeed with faith and God’s grace will ease the pain each day,” says Adejumo.
How do you re-invent? By doing what you are called to do: be a catalyst for change and empower others in a similar situation. Re-invention can be a slow process, which requires a daily commitment to find your true authentic voice and ultimately act upon.
Together Mitchie and Adejumo used this life-altering event as a way to educate the public, policymakers, and DWI offenders about the consequences of drunk driving and its debilitating impact on society. Their heart-wrenching story has made a tremendous impact on people, as well as a profound impact on public policy as it relates to DWI in Texas.
Adejumo started Mitchie’s Fine Black Art and Gift Gallery in Austin, Texas, out of her house as a means of income when her son was injured, an outlet for Mitchie to use his hands and draw again, and to pursue her passion for art collectibles and books.
Mitchie died in 2007 as a result of complications from the 1989 crash.
“After months of struggling with the death of my only child, and the lawsuit with my ex-husband, I was at the end of my rope and broke down, released my grip on the pain, and surrendered to God,” says Adejumo. “As God filled my emptiness and dried my tears, these prayers began flowing out of me on a daily basis – and I made a decision to capture them on paper by creating “My Daily Prayers: Spiritual Words of Wisdom Volume I,” knowing there were others going through life’s storm and needed assurance that God is by their side regardless.”
All proceeds from the book goes to The Mitchie Mitchell Foundation, which provides academic scholarships to high schools students who are survivors of accidents caused by drunk drivers and immediate family members of people injured or killed by drunk drivers. The foundation will donate five scholarships totaling $5,000 this year.