Struggling with Serendipity Memoir By Cindy Kolbe

Written by
an AbleThrive community member
Content via Community Submission
Community Submission
Written by
an AbleThrive community member

Cindy Kolbe has been a life-long disability advocate, even before her daughter Beth sustained a spinal cord injury in a car accident. Cindy is a writer and her articles have been published in many media platforms. She hopes that her writings help others facing similar challenges.

Read about Cindy’s new memoir Struggling with Serendipity to gain insight from a caregiver’s perspective.


Cindy and Beth embracing while laughing

My life changed forever on Melmore Road near the small town of Tiffin in the heart of Ohio’s farmland. Near midnight, I drove the last stretch toward home after my son’s college concert in May of 2000. I fell asleep at the wheel with my youngest, Beth, in the passenger seat. As the car flipped across a dark field, my daughter’s spinal cord ripped along with my identity as a mom. When told of her paralysis from the chest down, fourteen-year-old Beth paused only a moment before simply responding, “Let’s talk about what I can do.”

In my new memoir, Struggling with Serendipity, my battle with guilt and depression is in direct contrast to Beth’s, who challenges the physical limits of quadriplegia with tenacity and optimism. We become a team.

Struggling with Serendipity shares a mom's crisis, a daughter's paralysis, and a road of hope—from a small town in Ohio to Seattle, Harvard, Capitol Hill, and around the world. Beth helps me find a new normal, with serendipity in the most unlikely of moments. 

Beth learns to float in the rehab pool. Later, she swims on the U.S. Paralympic National Team for 5 years and becomes the first with a visible disability on the varsity Harvard Women's Swimming and Diving Team. A Paralympian, she earned fourteen S3 American Records. A decade later, nine still stand.

“Becoming independent,” Beth said. “That is my greatest achievement.”

Beth lends her voice to Struggling with Serendipity through her media quotes and writings. She is a health policy lawyer on K Street and a resident of her favorite big city, Washington, DC. Her clients and pro bono work include companies and nonprofits in the disability community. She shares my passion for volunteering and is planning her May wedding.

A lifelong disability advocate—even before Beth's injury—I ran a nonprofit, managed group homes, and taught at an institution. I write a blog and published more than 50 articles since 2016 in Power of Moms, Motherly, This Is My Brave, AbleThrive, and other media. I also am a volunteer for disability groups and mental health nonprofits.

Brittany AbleThrive book review


Thanks to Cindy for sharing this synopsis of her new memoir with! Check out Cindy’s website by clicking here and if you would like a copy of her book for yourself click below:

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