Never Could Have Made It

This time last year, I was prancing around all starry-eyed in a warehouse in Pasadena.

The SCAN Foundation at the Tournament of Roses 2019

I’d been invited by The SCAN Foundation to represent millennial caregivers on their first ever Rose Parade float. The theme was Hope’s Heroes.

I was so honored to be invited to participate in a century old tradition I’d enjoyed for so many years with my own family, all while raising awareness for the obstacles family caregivers face.

Aisha Adkins aboard The SCAN Foundation’s Hope’s Heroes float for the Rose Parade in Pasadena California, January 1, 2020

I had just finished up my first semester as a full-time graduate student and I almost couldn’t believe the life I was living.


Dedicating almost the last 7 years of my life to caring for my mom I didn’t know what my future would look like. You certainly couldn’t have told me that I’d get to travel to California, participate in an internationally renown event, and connect with amazing people from all over the world.

I also wouldn’t have thought it possible that I would experience exponential growth and reach some of my greatest achievements, while still caring for my mom full-time – all during a global pandemic!

But I did it. Everything I set out to do – and more. Not because I didn’t struggle or because I’m some kind of superhuman. It was hard, and there were times I was almost tempted to give up. Or at least postpone things to a more convenient time… whenever that might arrive.

But because I set my sights on a goal, made my intentions and my dedication known, and asked for help (from fellow humans and God) when I needed it – I did it.

Really, I don’t know if I would have been able to complete my program if it weren’t for the pandemic.

If the world hadn’t pivoted to virtual learning, working, and socializing, I would have been forced to make some very serious choices for the sake of practical survival and literal sanity.

But alas, people saw the importance of access and equity. Professors, supervisors, and friends accommodated my longstanding need to study, work, and socialize from home. People began to understand our worth is not to be determined solely by our availability and profitability to others. We all have something of value to add, even if the way we do that looks somewhat different than it does for others.

Every one of us has something to give. Some of us may just need a few more accommodations than others because we have people who depend on us and need us to survive, or because we have extenuating health circumstances. And that’s okay. We’ll get it done; just give us the opportunity to show up and make a difference. We just may surprise you.

Aisha Adkins, MPA, CNP

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