Although today she may be well on her way to becoming a nurse practitioner, Faye Lewis has never forgotten how far she has come - and how hard she has worked to get here.
That's why when she needed a little motivation not too long ago after a rough day, she shared the evolution of the myriad of name badges she'd worn over the years at various jobs to give her a much-needed boost.
Little did she know, that boost would become viral, inspiring many others.
It wasn't all that long ago that Lewis found herself surrounded by a world of uncertainty. After her freshmen year of college and having been rejected from nursing school, she discovered that she was also pregnant. She made the difficult decision to leave school and move closer to her parents.
Her son, AJ, was born in 2010, and as a single mom, Lewis worked two jobs to help support her new family: one as a recently-promoted manager at KFC, and the other as a housekeeper at an assisted living home. Although her path had veered slightly, she knew that nursing was still very much her calling.
"I knew I wanted to be a nurse," she said. "I love to help people. I do it with joy in my heart."
Fortunately, it wasn't long before Lewis was able to complete her certified nursing assistant training with the help of a subsidy program, and began working at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield, Illinois. Although she was finally in the place she wanted to be, she knew she had a lot of work ahead of her if she wanted to reach her goal of becoming a nurse.
She entered into an LPN (licensed practical nurse) program, completing it in only nine short months. From there, she made moves to pursue her Associate’s Degree in Nursing. However, just as things were beginning to look up for the young single mom, tragedy struck when her father, three cousins and the family dog were all killed in a house fire.
Heartbroken but determined, Lewis persevered.
"I had a supportive family and I knew my Dad wouldn’t want me to quit," she said.
Incredibly, in 2014, Lewis obtained her Associate's Degree in Nursing and graduated from her Bachelor's Degree program in 2016 - all the while working two jobs, raising her young son, and working through the grief of losing so many close family members.
Today, Lewis is enrolled in a Doctorate Program and studying to become a family nurse practitioner. She admits her journey was not an easy one, but she is proud of how far she has come - and if her story can inspire others, even better.
"I didn't know a simple post would inspire so many," she said. "People are telling me it gives them hope."