This Wednesday was Disability Awareness Day (Celebrate Ability) on Luther campus and events were put on by the Student Senate. I feel very fortunate that I was able to be a part of it this year.
Student Senate had tables in the Union for most of the day where people could play a trivia game that included prizes, and sign a pledge to stop the use of the R-word. For the trivia game you got to spin the wheel to see what prize you were playing for, and then answered a trivia question. It was all related to awareness, and a lot of people throughout the day stopped by to give it a try. (I played and won a coffee travel mug!)
Later, that evening they hosted an event with speakers in Valders. It was a very moving experience.
The first speaker was a girl whose brother has a mental delay. She spoke about the many accomplishments of her brother and his hard work to end the use of the R-word. It was an extremely moving speech that really made you want to do what you could to join in the action for the end of that derogatory word.
The second speaker was a High School student from Decorah, who has cerebral palsy. She was able communicate via a computer that she controlled with her eyes. I wasn’t even aware that such a device existed, but I’m so glad that it does! If it didn’t then we would be oblivious to all of the amazing thoughts and aspirations of this girl! She told her story, which was one of great accomplishments. In the face of everyone who told her that something wasn’t possible, she had never given up and always put in the hard work to prove them wrong. She is even involved in speech and has won all kinds of awards for her speeches. Her story was incredibly moving and showed that with a strong, supportive family, and a fierce drive, people can accomplish great things! I couldn’t imagine being in her position, and I think that it takes a very special person to make such a huge difference in the face of such hurdles. I don’t know if I could ever do that.
The third speaker was Chris Norton, the football player who was injured a few years ago and lost everything from the waist down for a while. As all of us at Luther are proud to claim, he’s now gained so much back! His story was one of never giving up hope and putting everything you have in to succeed in despite of obstacles. He told a story of a doctor who gave up on him, and how he proved to that doctor a few weeks later that his recovery was not over when he wiggled his big toe and from there has progressed to physical therapy to work on walking again. After telling his story, he left us with a great message of hope. He said that ability is what you do in the face of obstacles. It was such a great message to end the night with and sent everyone home with something to think about.
I enjoyed partaking in the celebration of ability on Luther campus! It was a very heart-touching experience!
Cheers ladies and gents :)