Person of the Month-April 2018
The EPIC Foundation proudly announces our Person of the Month for April, 2018, DaVita Garfield. This is a special time of year, as we celebrate Cushing’s Awareness Month. During this month, it is important to honor those who make significant contributions to our community. DaVita is a fellow Cushing’s warrior who has lived through adversity but has used her past pain to empower women everywhere!
DaVita is very passionate about “helping women become the best versions of themselves and accomplishing their goals on purpose and without apology”. She says that she remembers a time when she did not believe she deserved to live her best life. DaVita expresses eternal gratitude for all of the women in her life who have supported her, throughout the years, to accomplish her goals. DaVita has a mission of paying it forward in the same way! She offers coaching services in the areas of life, career, and entrepreneurship. She also offers consulting services to entrepreneurs and small business in marketing, branding, content creation, and event planning. The women DaVita serves often need support and accountability as well as the validation that they can accomplish anything they desire. They are full of purpose, passion and dreams!
During her health journey, DaVita realized that she previously had a misconception that she could only share the “good” parts of herself with other women to be accepted. She believed that all women did this with each other. She held onto this deeply engrained belief that women didn’t truly want to support other women in their authentic form. It wasn’t until she finally became more transparent about her struggles, her flaws, and her failures that she “found so much strength, encouragement and empowerment from other women”.
DaVita’s story is truly inspiring and should be heard by all! When DaVita left home for college, she was able to leave some painful experiences of her childhood behind her. She earned an undergraduate degree in Social Work and she quickly settled into her career as a hospital social worker. DaVita eventually obtained a Master’s degree in health administration and marketing and she moved on to a career in healthcare sales. During this time, she became the mother of an amazing young lady named Aniah Rose. Around age 35 and right around the time that she moved into her first middle management position; the symptoms of Cushing’s started to appear, though at the time, DaVita didn’t have a name for it.
For two years, DaVita received no diagnosis and no real answers from physicians, as her symptoms worsened. Shortly after the loss of her childhood best friend to suicide, her symptoms started in 2012 with anxiety, fatigue, body pain and even the inability to get out of bed on some days. DaVita didn’t understand what was happening in her body because she was previously extremely active, healthy and social. She considered herself a people person who spent a lot of time with loved ones. She was the life of every party and she truly enjoyed being around other people. However, as time progressed and the symptoms increased, she became more depressed, frustrated and avoidant.
People who had not seen DaVita recently would stare at her in shock at her overt physical changes-these were changes that she could not explain and she soon dreaded running into others. Despite all of this, she went to work every single day in pain and never said a word. DaVita would work long hours in pain, then stay up most of the night because of pain only to wake up exhausted. This became a daily routine until she reached her breaking point. This happened when her daughter, who was 8 years old at the time, displayed signs of extreme anxiety including being afraid to leave DaVita’s side and being worried about her mom constantly. DaVita decided at that moment that she wanted to change her mindset and to believe that there was a reason bigger than her for what she was experiencing. Through prayer and faith in God, she believed that she was purposed to have this experience so that she would be able to help someone else. That faith and change of mindset allowed her to be more transparent about what she was going through.
DaVita’s turning point pushed her to advocate for herself and take the lead in managing her health. Ultimately, she finally revealed a symptom that she had been hiding, to her Rheumatologist-her buffalo hump. Cushing’s disease was finally described to her and suspected to be the source of her problems. DaVita was diagnosed after a series of tests and an MRI. She had her first pituitary surgery on September 25th, 2014, spent a few months recovering, and felt like she was beginning to regain her health. DaVita spent the next 2 and ½ years feeling relatively healthy. She moved forward with starting her business, engaging in motivational speaking engagements, and she wrote her first book.
DaVita also founded her company after her first pituitary surgery to satisfy her increasing desire to serve and support women in being their best authentic selves. She believes that we cannot do it alone, so she named her company empoWermentNOW. The capitalization stands for “Women Need Other Women”.
Unfortunately, in early 2017, DaVita began experiencing Cushing’s symptoms again. She was, ultimately, re-diagnosed and another tumor was found. DaVita was devastated by the news but stayed focused on living a purpose filled life and continuing to help others in the midst of her own adversity. She had her second surgery on September 22nd, 2017. DaVita is now on the road to recovery again. She continues to help women from all walks of life to live their lives full of purpose. Her passion is driven by being able to use her experiences, skills, and heart to help others. Her goal is to reach as many women as possible, so they are supported in living their best lives on all levels. DaVita also feels a strong desire to use her experiences with Cushing’s disease to help educate others and spread awareness about this life-threatening disease.
Throughout this entire journey, DaVita’s biggest motivator has been and continues to be her almost 14-year-old daughter, Aniah Rose. She has always been so supportive of whatever she sets out to do even at a very young age. Aniah Rose was just 9 years old when DaVita was first diagnosed with Cushing’s and she truly motivated her to push through that rough time so that she could be healthy again and return to the mom she once had. When DaVita had her recurrence of Cushing’s last year, Aniah Rose was the first to remind her that she would make it through the second pituitary surgery. She said, “Come on mom, we did this before…you got this!” DaVita held on to those words!
DaVita believes in being EPIC together! She is grateful for the many amazing people who have been a part of her journey with Cushing’s as well as those who have been supportive of her vision to leave corporate America and move fully into her coaching business. Her family was extremely supportive, especially her daughter and her dad. She also has an amazing group of friends who have been very supportive. DaVita feels blessed to have a “team” of fellow entrepreneurs who collaborate with her daily to help make her business successful. Lastly, the love of her life, Andre, is her number #1 collaborator in her business. He supports her vision 100% and “represents the slogan ‘Together we are EPIC’ to the fullest!”
DaVita wants the world to know that it is so important to accept that our experiences don’t happen just for us. But they are bigger than us and we are to help others because of these experiences.
DaVita says, “I believe the key to helping others is embracing our entire life journey, the good and the bad experiences because all of them make us who we are: amazing, unique, and EPIC.”
During this special month that means so much to so many of us, The EPIC Foundation is blessed to honor this amazing woman who uses her experiences to pay it forward to others. DaVita helps The EPIC Foundation become more EPIC by serving as its Branding and Marketing Consultant! DaVita gives of herself to make the world a better place! We honor DaVita because she, too, believes that Together, WE are EPIC!
You can learn more about DaVita’s life’s work by visiting her website here: http://www.davitagarfield.com