Re-Invention After The Storm

How one mother channeled the pain of tragic loss into a new purpose and passion for life

Joyce Adejumo Black Enterprise

Adejumo started an art gallery and foundation in the name of her late son Mitchie.

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.

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  • Susan Effanga

    A testament of God’s ability to put back the broken pieces of one’s life. Truly touching! I Pray that many at the cross roads of life wondering whether to live or die, will give it one more try; look deep within them, draw out their hidden reserve of strength and press on after the storm. There’s always a beautiful new beginning after a tragedy.

  • http://blackenterprise.com Alfred Edmond, Jr.

    This is a perfect illustration of something I have come to believe fervently after enduring loss, trials and tribulation in my own life:

    Sometimes God takes us through hell in order to equip us to bring others out.

    Great post and inspiring story. Thanks, Karen!

  • Myra Constable

    Joyce Adejumo is an inspiration! I am happy to know her. She has turned her own loss in to hope and inspiration for others. Way to go Joy! You are my role model.

  • Gail Little

    I have known Joyce and her son Mitchie for a long time and even worked in the gallery for a few years. His passing was truly a loss to the world, and the work done by this foundation is only a small representation of the joy Mitchie gave his mother and all those who knew him. Joyce is truly a wonderful inspiration to anyone who has to deal with loss of any kind, and especially to those who have to deal with the tragic effects of drunk driving accidents…… God bless you Joyce!