D: What is your favorite way to pass time? V: I enjoy my work, crafting, gardening and exploring other methods of the 'self-sustainability' lifestyle.
D: What is something people generally don’t know about you? V: Most people don't know that I was born with a physical disability affecting my feet. Each step I take with them is considered a gift. I was born, Dec. 6th 1981 with bilateral clubbed feet. At first suggestion, my mother was told I'd never walk and that amputation at the knee was the best option for me. My mother wanted a second opinion, then a third. eventually, my mother took me to Shriners hospital for children in Chicago, IL. After 12 surgeries in 4+ years my feet were straightened and I was able to walk. I took my first steps in casts up to my thighs to find my mother in the kitchen. Now I am pretty active. I run 2k & 5k charity runs. I run for the finish line, not for time other than trying to beat my old run times. I do this as my little nod to Shriners and as a bit of a spite to those others who said I'd never walk. Grant it, each run puts me in terrible pain, but it is worth it. I also enjoy standing up proudly with respect when the Shriners are in local parades. even though they're in their little go-carts and being fun I act as if the American flag is walking by. If not for them, I'd not be walking today.
D: What gets your fired up about the disability movement? V: The lack of compassion in others. Seeing others make fun of those with a disability, physical or mental, grinds my gears so bad. In high school I was made fun of for being a 'nerd/geek' but because my disability, despite being physical, was well hidden it hits me two-fold when I see bullies or even 'people who feel sorry for' someone who's not 'perfect'.
D: What is your advocacy platform? V: I use myself as a platform. I don't stand to see those with disabilities be bullied or made fun of. Nothing fires up my courage more than bullies.
D: What barriers or challenges do you face in this movement? V: I live with pain everyday. Fluctuating pain, there are days I wake up and can't bare it to walk.
D: What do you want those who do not identify with disability to know? V: Learn compassion
D: What areas are you still growing/hope to grow? Personally? Professionally? V: I challenge myself with new vocations constantly. I'm very interested in the variety of aspects of self-sustainable and self-sufficient lifestyles and minimalism. The more I can learn to do myself the more complete of a person I feel I am.
D: Who was the person/role model who inspired you to look into disability advocacy? Why/how did they inspire you? V: I've always felt self-driven. from day one, it was assumed I'd never walk.
D: When people look at you/up to you, what do you hope they see? V: A positive example and a hope for humanity.
D: What are your next steps? V: I'm a busy-body and always have a few things going on. I like to think that anything I can put effort into and accomplish no matter how big or small is a testament to what can be accomplished. I challenge myself with new vocations constantly.
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