Every human life has value.

What is “normal” after all?? H/T: Cause of our Joy Check out this new movie, Mr. Blue Sky. From it’s website:

Mr. Blue Sky is a ground-breaking film that explores the romantic relationship of a woman born with Down syndrome and a “normal” male, as perceived by today’s society. Mr. Blue Sky attempts to break down society’s barriers, much like “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner?” did in the 1960′s, as it aims to “change lives” through “changing minds.”

christinaayers.jpgI love that this movie features a main character with Down syndrome, a disease for which a positive prenatal test result ends in abortion over 90% of the time. Our society seriously underestimates the ability of people with disabilities to live “normal” lives – to have jobs, fall in love, or otherwise chase their dreams. Very often people with serious disabilities are looked upon with pity and many presume that our lives must somehow be less fulfilling or valuable because of our physical limitations.

I was 17 when I had my car accident. After the initial shock of what I had lost – all feeling and control over the lower 75% of my body – and the prospect of facing life in a wheelchair, both equally as devastating, I began to see that there were a good many things that I would still be able to do which motivated me to get the heck on with my life – and get out of rehab (I had a prom to go to in a few months after all). Among my biggest motivations, besides the love and support of my family and the example of a very special mentor, were the fact that I would be able to drive again (a car, too, and not a van!) and enjoy relative independence and that I would still be able to one day get pregnant and have children – naturally (God willing – yes that was important to me at 17)! Life was going to be OK, a little different, but OK – possibly even wonderful!

nullFast forward, almost eight years now, and it turns out I do have a pretty wonderful life. I did make it to my junior prom (pictured here) and have been driving (with more success this time) for a number of years. No kids yet, I still lack the necessary components – a man and a marriage covenant – otherwise I’d be good to go. I still have the love of my family and the ability to love in return. Apart from working for my parents, I do a number of volunteer duties in my parish and my community. I have a great life because I’m a human being, dammit, and I know my life has value!

The extent to which such people could function in society would obviously depend on the severity of the disease or disability but that doesn’t mean their life should be any less meaningful or fulfilling. Sick and disabled people must endure sometimes tragic suffering, but whose to say that our sufferings are greater than those enduring some interior anguish hidden from the eyes of the world? Disability or not, life is what we make it, society be damned. Below are some snapshots of my blessed life so far, post injury.

My new car!
My car!
My beautiful sisters (who are actually younger than me, if you can’t tell)
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Some great friends of mine
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Activism with the kids

Interning at the State Capitol
Me and Ed
On a horse at my aunt’s house – that was scary!
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With a dolphin in the Keys
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Also, check out my Pictures page to see some of the interesting people I have met over the years.

Related post:
Better Off Dead?
Lives Not Worth Living

November 16th, 2007 at 5:41 pm
9 Responses to “People With Disabilities Can Live “Normal” Lives”
  1. 1
    Erendira Says:

    Thank you for sharing your view in that ALL life is sacred.

    May Everyone in the world understand this SAME principle when it comes to dehumanizing individuals or groups due to disagreements.

    MY LIFE IS SACRED! MY FAMILY’S LIFE IS SACRED!

    Thank You Again.

  2. 2

    [...] for her condition and writes: Despite being in a wheelchair I still live a relatively “normal” life. I still have the love of my family and the ability to love in return. Apart from working for my [...]

  3. 3
    eric Says:

    I just saw you for a few minutes on ewtn. I think you are beautiful and very smart.

  4. 4
    Donna O'Brien Says:

    I am amazed with your story, but more so with your attitude and grace to live your life and do all the things you are able to do.

    I have a neuro muscular auto immune disease diagnosed over 5 years ago, I was 54 then and my initial reaction was anger, and it took me some time to adjust to this new life, knowing I could never work again. However I have learned to take it day to day and my faith in God is very strong and that is very important to me.

    So I wish you the best.
    Donna

  5. 5
    Wendy Says:

    I once met an inspiring man named Scott Burrows (look him up on the internet) and he spoke to a group of us. The phrase that stood out the most to me was, “don’t let your mind be your greatest dissability.” That has stuck with me through out ups and downs. We all have the freedom of choice. And with the right mindset, can achieve amazing things. Another inspirational man I’ve met is named Oz Sanchez. He’s a paralympic gold medalist in hand cycling.
    Congratulations for showing everyone that they have a choice no matter what they have experienced in life.
    Cheers,
    Wendy

  6. 6
    Joe Ott Says:

    Chelsea,

    What an amazing testimony! I 100% agree with you all life is Sacred! If you would like to do a 1/2 hour interview on the radio with me please get back to me marysboy1@verizon.net, or 413-796-7002. The program is all Catholic and reaches three states in the New England area.

    God- Bless,

    Joe Ott “Cause of Our Joy”

  7. 7
    dr inayat sajid Says:

    hi,
    i m dr inayat sajid from pakistan. i saw your vidio to riding on a car, i m also c7 injured person and want to live like u. i also want shere many experiances with u if u will intrested
    u wanna write me on my drinayat2000@yahoo.com or 00923007561987 cell
    waiting
    dr inayat

  8. 8
    Chasity Says:

    We have an almost 1 year old with severe diabilities and this blog, your whole site, is speaking to my heart. As a mom, I am struggling with how the world see’s him: right now he is cute and approachable, a litle blind/deaf baby with cute glasses and hearing aides, a trach and vent, abnormal, but adorable with that baby fat. But in 20 years, how will they see him? Scary, unapproachable, contorted, unacceptable? This wretches my heart. I’ve found comfort in your words and in your example of a life lived. Thank you.
    In Them,
    Chasity

  9. 9

    [...] being in a wheelchair I still live a relatively “normal” life. I still have the love of my family and the ability to love in return. Apart from working for my [...]