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10 Rising Hearts: Teen turns a personal tragedy into an opportunity to spread joy

Joy Nason created a company to sell her handmade cards then donate the proceeds to a hospital

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Joy Nason is a senior in high school who suffered a personal tragedy a few years ago. 

"She was in a car wreck in which she almost passed away before high school began," Christian Academy of Knoxville teacher Susan Stanford said. She is also the Capstone Project Supervisor. 

That car wreck sent Joy Nason to Children's Hospital at Erlanger in Chattanooga with severe injuries. Her right leg was crushed. Recovery required surgeries and facing a different future. 

Credit: Joy Nason
A horrible car wreck sent Joy Nason to Children's Hospital at Erlanger in Chattanooga with severe injuries

"She was a great softball player and had dreams of playing softball in college," Susan said. 

She has taught Joy in several classes at CAK. Joy's family moved to Knoxville after the wreck and Susan has seen her blossom.

Credit: Christian Academy of Knoxville
Christian Academy of Knoxville

"There's probably no person on the planet whose name matches their character as much as Joy," she said. 

Joy will bear the scars of that wreck and the surgeries forever but she chose not to complain. In fact, when it came time to choose her senior Capstone Project at CAK, she knew which organization she wanted to help. 

"I wanted to find a way to give back to that community because they mean so much to me and they helped me so much," Joy Nason said. 

Credit: Joy Nason
Joy Nason feels a special connection to Children's Hospital at Erlanger in Chattanooga

Here's the back story. While recuperating at the hospital in Chattanooga, she pursued one of her talents: art. 

"I do different watercolor and calligraphy prints and I discovered my love for that after the car wreck and when I was in the hospital bed and I didn't have anything to do and then that's so what I did and just practiced that all day," Joy said. "I came up with this company called Oh Be Joyful where I paint and design different thank you, birthday, congratulations cards and sell them and all the proceeds went to Children's Hospital at Erlanger which is where I was after my car wreck." 

Credit: WBIR
She started a company to sell her handmade cards then donate the proceeds

Online sales went well leading up to Christmas. She presented a check to the hospital for $1,677.

"I learned how powerful it can be when you pursue your passions and how much good that can do when you find something that you are passionate about and pursue that and then use that to advance the Kingdom," she said. 

Susan said, "She someone who epitomizes the ability to open her hands, to allow things to be taken away, to not become bitter, but with those open hands she was able to receive new things." 

Joy has several options for college and plans to go into the medical profession.

She is certain about one part of her future. 

" I hope to just continue to spread positivity."

WBIR showcases students who reach beyond their schools and families to help make our community better. To nominate a student, please send an email describing them and their community service to 10Hearts@wbir.com

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