Scleroderma Survivor, Christi Hoehn, Shares Her Secret to Happiness

This Is the Conclusion of a 4-Part Series of Christi’s Remarkable Journey

(Click here if you missed Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.)

TisBest is on a mission to #RedefineGifting by replacing gifts of stuff with gifts of good. In that spirit, we like to feature heartwarming stories of special people, like scleroderma survivor Christi Hoehn, who are also doing good in this world. Christi was featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Show’s digital network, Daily Smile. The program’s new series, Next Chapter, follows stories of people on the verge of major life changes. It showcases the small setbacks and big triumphs involved in undertaking new challenges. We hope Christi’s remarkable story inspires you to spread some kindness and love in your communities.

As Talk of the Table owner Christi Hoehn was building her brand she discovered her true purpose. Her passion was to become a motivational speaker. Her first goal was to stand in front of family and friends, who supported her 37 year battle with scleroderma, and deliver her first speech. In order to make that dream a reality she overcame two obstacles. First, Christi, a double leg amputee, learned to walk on prosthetics after being wheelchair-bound for 16 years. Then she overcame another debilitating condition — her fear of public speaking.

Scleroderma survivor, Christi Hoehn performing rehabilitation exercises with her trainer.

Motivational Speaker Finds Her Voice with Toastmasters

On the day of the event, Christi was beaming as she walked across the stage and took her place at the microphone. She began her speech by thanking the Daily Smile, TisBest Philanthropy, and her support group in the audience. Next, Christi gave a shout-out to her biggest cheerleaders who encouraged her to become a motivational speaker.

For years, Christi struggled with public speaking to market her business. To overcome her fear, she joined her local chapter of Toastmasters International. The non-profit, educational organization teaches public speaking and leadership skills in small group settings. Christi credits the people in that group for showing her that her story mattered. For the first time in her life, Christi did not identify as a mom, business owner, or disabled, scleroderma patient. She felt empowered to fulfill a higher purpose. By telling her story, she vowed to help others find a light in their own darkness.

Scleroderma Has Unexpected Side Effect

Scleroderma survivor, Christi Hoehn at home.

During her speech, Christi Hoehn reflected on her journey with her illness. Since her diagnosis at age 20, she’s endured many other related health issues. In addition to having both legs amputated she’s been diagnosed with Raynaud’s Syndrome, esophageal reflux, a hiatal hernia, mitral valve prolapse, arrhythmia, pulmonary fibrosis, bronchiectasis, osteoarthritis, and fibromyalgia. Then, 11 years ago, Christi was diagnosed with lung cancer – also caused by her underlying condition. Although she’s fallen along the way, she has always found a reason to get back up again. 

Christi Hoehn is now 57 years old. She has lived with scleroderma over 30 years longer than her doctors’ expected. Amidst all of the negative side effects, Christi’s illness has given her an unexpected gift. Her disability gives her the ability to inspire others. However, in order to do that she needed to overcome one last obstacle that was holding her back.

Christi Hoehn Gives Us All a Reason to Smile

As Christi discovered her passion to help others, she no longer wanted to be defined by her illness. She learned that she was carrying the burden of all the bad things that happened in her life. In order to move forward she had to let go of her past. That’s when she let her audience in on her secret to happiness. She says the answer lies in forgiveness. Christi forgave all of the painful moments from her younger years. Then, she learned to forgive herself. That was the moment she began to feel lighter and truly happy.

Christi shared that happiness is not something that happens to us. It’s something we create ourselves. After watching Christi’s speech, it’s no surprise that the Daily Smile chose to feature Christi’s story. Christi has a radiant smile and a zest for life that inspires us all to create our own happy endings!

Create More Warm Fuzzies!

Join us in the movement to #RedefineGifting by replacing gifts of stuff with gifts of good. If you feel inspired by this heartwarming story, spread a little more love in our world. Send a TisBest Charity Gift Card to those close to your heart so they can pay it forward to a charity that is close to theirs. Or give a card to a stranger as a random act of kindness. Together, you’ll do a world of good.

A TisBest Charity Gift Card featuring a cheerful Sunflower design.

Share your giving stories with us on social by tagging your post with #RedefineGifting.