Living with NF1: Jeff Colatruglio

Author: Jeff Colatruglio
Published On: 06/18/2018

          My name is Jeff Colatruglio, I am 32 years old. I am from Mansfield, Ohio.  I was diagnosed with NF1 when I was a child. I have finally learned to be proud of it and no longer a shamed of who I am.  My whole education career I had an IEP for my learning disabilities which my reading and writing skills were always below standard skills.   I also was in speech therapy from Per-kindergarten until I was in the eighth grade. I was bullied for having a disability and speech issues, but I never let them get the best of me. I had the love and support of my parents who made sure I was included in regular classes starting in ninth grade. We all knew this would be rough but we needed to know if I could handle it. I had an amazing teacher Mrs. Jill Roads Mize, who believed in me since day one.  She was the one who helped me with testing, reading, and writing skills. I was proud to say I graduated from vermilion high school in 2005. If it wasn’t for my two amazing brothers I don’t know if I would be as strong as I am now.

          My next goal was college. I knew this would be one of the hardest goals I had ever set for myself. Again, my parents fully supported this goal of mine and we found Mount St Joseph, who had a program called Project Excel for college students who had a disability of any type.  In this project you were able to get whatever help you needed to help you start your college career, then by the time it’s your senior year you’re on you own. My first year was rough, and I finished with a 2.85 GPA. I knew the following year I had to choose what path to go down. I knew social worker was perfect for me so that I could help as many people possible for the rest of my life. My next semester I made the dean’s list with a 3.85 GPA, I was so proud of myself.  I than followed that up with five more times on the dean’s list and graduated with an 3.65 GPA Overall. My dream job was to be a service and support administrator for adults with disabilities.

          I never thought that I would have found someone who wanted to marry me and have a family. I understood the idea of marrying and having a baby with someone who had NF wasn’t on every girls list, but then I found my angel. Her name is Miranda and she is truly my guardian angel sent down just for me.  I married her on 9/4/16 which was one of the greatest days of my life.  She truly was 100% ok with having a baby with me and didn’t worry about the NF. She told me all that matter is that we love each other and we will love our children and support them.  I am proud to say we have two beautiful children, Holden (4) and Rosalee (1 month) Colatruglio.

          My final part of my story is my career; I started working at Murray Ridge Center in 2015. Murray Ridge is an occupational vocational center for adults with disabilities to find employment inside or outside of the center. I started working as an aide in one of the areas helping with daily activities and any job that was needed. I than became a recreation specialist, which I did for three years, and truly enjoyed with all my heart. In this job I worked with adults on skills such as money skills, socializing, communication and any skills that would help them to be independent in the community. I would take them out in the community during the evening/day to places like bowling, movies, dinner, Indians games, hockey, ECT. I have now achieved to my dream job as a Service and Support Administrator and can’t wait to see what this next chapter holds of me. My words of wisdoms for anyone who has NF is, don’t let it hold you back from your dreams and always believe your dreams can come true!

If you have an NF Champion that you'd like us to highlight, contact Deb at #TheWordIs #CureNF #NFAwareness

Want to view archived newsletters? Click Here!


Sign up to receive the latest neurofibromatosis news and information in your inbox!



Have a story you'd like to share with the NF community? Click Here!