“Hello. My name is Chris Votraw and it is a miracle that I am standing here before you…”
At only eleven days old, Chris Votraw contracted meningitis. As a result, she was diagnosed with hydrocephalus at two months old and had to have two shunts inserted into her brain to drain the excess fluid.
Her parents’ faith and the prayers of their St. Augustine’s Church community helped to sustain her for many years. Unfortunately, when she was eleven years old, one shunt malfunctioned resulting in a traumatic brain injury. Learning became a challenge, but her parents, both teachers, provided education 24/7 during her teenage years. Eventually, she obtained her high school diploma as well as an Associates Degree in Social Work.
After college, she joined a convent in Watertown, NY, but after three years moved to Rochester and joined the Sisters of St. Joseph here. She enjoyed her religious life, but eventually had to leave due to complications with her shunt. It was then that she had to live on her own for the first time in her life. This was a challenge, but she feels blessed to have found Catholic Charities Family and Community Services.
Chris’s service coordinator helped settle her into her first apartment, and continues to assist her in various ways. With the help of CCFCS, she is able to live independently—managing her calendar, budget and medical appointments. Also, through her service coordination team’s help, she has obtained assistive technology— her tablet that verbally prompts her on a daily basis. Her service coordinator programs her calendar remotely and that helps her “to live her best life!”
A quick overview of Family and Community Services