As a child growing up with a disability, I often wondered why I was injured. Why couldn’t I walk and run like the other children? I came to realize that everyone has different abilities. My mom reminds me that when I was younger, I said, “God made some wheelchair children and some walking children. I’m one of the wheelchair children.”
I believe it is my purpose to be a positive example and role model of what it’s like to live with a disability. Even though I have to have assistance with daily tasks such as dressing and bathing, I am thankful for the abilities I have. While it’s not always easy living with a disability, I try to remember something my dad continues to teach me. He says, “Every day is a good day, but some days are better than others.”
It’s empowering to know that when I speak to occupational and physical therapy students, newly-injured patients and others, I can help them understand my journey of living with a spinal cord injury. Having just a glimpse into my life may provide encouragement to someone else to keep striving for new goals.
Christopher Reeve once said, “I’m not living the life I thought I would lead, but it does have meaning and purpose. There is love…there is joy…there is laughter.”
At the time of the car accident that caused my paralysis, I’m sure my parents didn’t expect for me to have the physical challenges, but, over the years, they have allowed me to live my life without any hesitations and regrets. I have friends and family who have looked beyond my physical challenges and have brought love, joy and laughter into my life.
I’ve found my purpose in life and I challenge you to find something that you’re passionate about. Find your purpose and pursue your dreams!