A few years back I was at a retreat for youth with physical disabilities- it was a weekend event, and a humbling experience to say the least. It was there that I met sarah. When I attend an event of this nature I make the disability secondary to the person. In other words, we all know that the one commonality we share is a physical disability but that doesnt shape who we are as people or really when you get down to it does the fact that a person uses a chair or can't talk matter? No it doesnt
Needless to say I spent the weekend getting to know Sarah. At the time she was 16 and a very funny and out going teenager who loved music and had a crush on a guy there. Anyway she and I quickly became friends and still communicate regularly.
On the last day of the retreat I asked sarah about her disability and was almost in tears as a i listened to the words pour from her communication computer. Sarah said "I am just recently disabled" unknownly I asked what she meant she said I was in an accident. My immediate reaction was to think car...but my assumption was VERY wrong. When she was 13 sarah was riding her bike and had to cross a set of railroad tracks she got off her bike and waited for a train to pass when the coast was clear Sarah crossed and was struck by the second train. Sarah is now non verbal, light sensitive, and unable to eat solid food. Despite all of this she is still a very witty person who one can learn a lot from!! I know she is often lonely. people see the chair and the communication computer and automatically assume she isnt bright...I would say that despite all that Sarah has lost her smarts isnt one thats gone she is very bright and funny and I just wish the societal unease towards persons with disabilities was not there because it leaves people like sarah and i home and lonely on a friday night!
Sarah, I love you girl! <3