Definition of FORTITUDE
for·ti·tude noun \ˈfȯr-tə-ˌtüd, -ˌtyüd\

1: strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger or bear pain or adversity with courage

See that pretty lady on the right?  Yep, that's tennis superstar Venus Williams.  I got to meet her today at the official opening of the new Jamba Juice in Washington, DC (though, technically, I was their first customer on Saturday morning)!  In my 20 seconds of time with her, I told her about my blog and how it's such an inspiration to meet someone who showed fortitude in the face of adversity.  And then she asked me about my experience with adversity.

So, what kind of adversity has she faced?  Sjögren's syndrome -- an auto-immune disease that has forced her to not only change the way she plays, but also the way she lives.  If you've ever had a chronic illness or injury, you know exactly what it takes to summon up the fortitude to press on.  I sure know I do

It hasn't been easy for her.  If you follow tennis, you know that she struggled this year at Wimbledon in the singles tournament, but that she fought back along side her sister, Serena, to capture the doubles win in straight sets.

Venus asked me who I wanted the photo made out to and I said, "I'm going to share this on my blog."  And more than just sharing, I'm going to raffle it off.

How to win the signed glossy of Venus:  leave a comment below about your experience with either adversity or fortitude OR leave a comment about how Venus' story has motivated or inspired you.  I will use a random number generator to pick the winner by August 1st.  Please leave a way for me to contact you -- such as a twitter handle or your email address.  If you don't feel comfortable posting your email addres, email me a copy of your comment.


I like venus's fortitude. Because it helps she to get his achievement.


I work daily with several people, mainly women, who are extremely fattist and share a fear of fat. I'm learning to take this adversity and turn it into changing my own prejudice into compassion for anyone who doesn't fit into mainstream society. This is my opportunity to look more inward for self-love and acceptance.


I struggle with debilitating anxiety and depression. That, coupled with self-esteem issues landed me as an 18 year old who weighed 294 pounds. I finally had had enough and through diet and exercise lost 125 pounds. After a rough period with moving and relationship ending, I gained back 60 pounds, but over the last year, I've truly made the commitment to modify my lifestyle. I'm a full-time grad student and work part-time, yet I make it a priority to work out every day and eliminate crap from my diet. I've lost 70 pounds in the last 10 months, for a total weight loss of 140 pounds from my highest weight. The fortitude I've found to continue through that adversity is remarkable, even to me. Plus, I'm a huge tennis fan and ADORE Venus Williams.

@cmumma [twitter handle]


I've lived with a disease called Interstitial Cystitis since I was a kid. IC is an incurable disease that I usually explain (to make it easier) as holes in the bladder - or cysts - that make it incredibly uncomfortable (and sometimes even painful) for me to do most anything because I constantly need to be near a restroom. I was diagnosed at a young age and am getting progressively worse, hoping that I don't make it to needing a bladder removal or transplant (the most drastic treatment).

Many people my age (23) never make it through college because they barely sleep and can't function in classes. Some even end up on disability. But I am determined to make my dreams come true while I attempt to spread the word about IC (and the growing number of people diagnosed with it) and hope for a cure or a treatment that actually works.

In high school, I played tennis. That's probably the thing I miss most about being healthy and normal... running around the court.

My username is the same on Twitter (seejulesrun).


Kudos to both of you. That's what we call GIRL POWER!


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<3 Robby