POSTED: Thursday, January 13, 2011
HOUSTON — A man who inspires others despite a lifetime of suffering from a condition without a cure is this month’s Jefferson Award winner.
Reggie Bibbs was born with a genetic disorder of the nervous system called neurofibromatosis, or NF.It causes tumors to form in the body. For Reggie, it disfigured his face.Reggie’s brother Ronnie also had it. The tumors took Ronnie’s life in 2006.But from tragedy, a purpose was born.”I want more people to understand about NF. I want people to understand me, and I want to bring awareness,” Reggie said.The way to bring awareness on a large scale is on the Internet, so Reggie created a website, a Facebook page and a blog.Now, people with NF can virtually handhold each other about their trials and triumphs.
Reggie did not realize how far-reaching his message would be.”Canada, Australia, London,” he said.The message to those with NF is the same — get out. Get out of the house and give people a chance to get to know them.”I’m just like them. I still have those fears and worries they have, and I let them know that even with those fears, they still have to do it,” he said.He said he knew there would be questions, so Reggie came up with T-shirts that say “Just Ask” and made some cards explaining the disorder.And he started taking pictures with people, even famous ones.”Aaron Neville and the Neville brothers when they were in town,” Reggie said.Words of encouragement flooded in.
“I’m just having a wonderful time. I feel a lot better about myself, better than I ever have, because I see what I’m doing is making a difference,” he said.He has a shelf of Addy awards for public service announcements and print ads.Reggie said he could not have done it without family support, including his mom and sister.For more information about neurofibromatosis and Reggie’s story, visit www.reggiebibbs.com
If you know of a person deserving to be recognized with a Jefferson Award, fill out an online application.
Reprinted without the permission of KPRC.