By: Kristen Suraci
This is my first stab at writing a piece that doesn’t have to do with what’s going on around the world, but instead what’s going on in my own life. With that being said, I’d like to introduce myself. I’m Kristen, and for as long as the Twill team will have me, I’ll be contributing a monthly blog to keep everyone up to date on the greatness Twill is accomplishing! To say I’m excited is an understatement.
Let me tell you a little bit about me. I grew up in Guilderland and for the most part, have little to complain about that. I’ve always enjoyed all the great things and people the Capital Region has to offer. However, there came a time when I felt like I needed a new experience, to branch out of my comfort zone and really see what else was out there. After working for a local news station for two years right out of college I started to apply to other news stations all over the country. That’s when Charleston called.
Without thinking twice, I took the job and within a month I had moved 900 miles away from the place I had called home for 22 years. It was terrifying, but I was determined to embrace change and try to make the most out of it. I got promoted within my company in just two months, made a close group of friends, and even found a church community to be a part of. Ten months into the job is when my life was completely turned upside down. In the middle of my shift my mom called, giving me the news that my dad had a stroke and was in the hospital. My heart sank. As you can probably imagine, I didn’t handle the news well and wanted nothing more than to be home as soon as possible.
I was able to make it home for five days before having to return to work. When I finally did go back to work, I wasn’t the same person. I turned cold. I was pushing friends away, getting upset over every little thing imaginable, and experiencing multiple panic attacks a day. Things got so bad, I broke down and quit my job on a whim one mid-June afternoon. One piece of advice my dad always told me after graduating was “don’t quit a job unless you have another one lined up”, and that piece of advice flew right out the window. Having no job and nearly no one to turn to, I made the decision to move home. I felt weak, depressed, and purely lost. I had grown to love the city of Charleston, and couldn’t imagine moving back to the cold winters of Albany, but it seemed like I had no other choice if I wanted to get better.
I’ve now been back in the area for five months and can happily say I’ve grown such an appreciation for where I have the privilege of living and some of the amazing people I have surrounding me. Life is so much more than going to work, coming home to make dinner, maybe meeting friends for drinks on the weekend and going shopping, then repeating it all the week after. Experiencing the love and support from so many people got me thinking that I can’t just sit around and take the support, but I need to give back in some way. With the holidays now in full swing, it’s made me particularly conscious of the way I’ll be giving this year. I’ve always been a big gift giver, and spend a lot of time picking out special items for the people closest to me, but never thought about the people that may need something of comfort more than me or any of my friends do.
This all brings me back to my dad.
Seeing him in a hospital bed was one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through. During that entire experience, all I wanted was for him to feel comfortable in the setting he was in. Stumbling upon Twill gave me the hope I was looking for. I could buy a blanket for a friend and in return, Twill donates one to someone in need. If that’s not a win-win situation for a crazy Christmas shopper like myself, then I don’t know what is.
Without rambling on, I want to encourage anyone who’s reading this to take on a challenge this holiday season and be conscious of what you’re buying and consider giving back. Sometimes something as simple as a blanket, can make a bigger impact than you realize.I hope everyone out there enjoyed hearing my story, and I can’t wait to share the stories of the thousands of others benefiting from such a great cause in the coming months!