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March 24, 2006




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INMAN THANKS COUNSELORS

BY PEGGY GOETZ IRVINE WORLD NEWS



Many people thought Julie Inman’s life was over 26 years ago when she had a brain aneurysm while skiing as a teenager and fell into a coma.

But with her own courage and the support of her family and friends she not only learned to walk and talk again but made a meaningful life for herself.

In 1985 Julie and her parents decided she wanted to make an opportunity to give back some of the support she credits with being behind her success. At 41 she says she knows she would not be where she is today without her “cheering section.”

They established the Julie Inman Courage Award to reward and encourage high school students who have refused to be discouraged. The award went to a high school senior who had overcome a major obstacle.

Julie expanded the awards program and in 2001 founded her non-profit organization Supportability. It has a board of 11 and works all year long to raise scholarship money for graduating high school students who have had to overcome challenges.

There are 18 schools participating in the program. This year the organization will give its 100th award, which will raise its total to more than $100,000.

At a luncheon on March 14 at the Lucca restaurant in Quail Hill, Julie thanked counselors from participating high schools for helping to select scholarship winners.

Eunice Lee, one of the past recipients of a Supportability award, graduated from University High School with her class in 2004. She lapsed into a coma with a rare brain disorder the summer before her freshman year of high school and fought to regain her life through more than 12 surgeries and endless hours of rehabilitation, a small mountain of prescription drugs, depression and a bout with meningitis. She is now attending college.

“You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them,” Lee said. “The Courage Award helped keep my hope alive.”

Creekside High also participates in the program.

A new program that started last year at Villa Park High School involves student Supportability Clubs on high school campuses. The Villa Park club and one at Foothill High in Tustin work to raise money for their own scholarships and to support students on their own campuses.