In May 2011, I became a T8 paraplegic as a result of a natural gas explosion in my home. I was 37 years old. I quickly moved from being a member of the able-bodied population to a severely physically disabled woman. I will always remember the utter fear I felt when I left the hospital after being a patient for almost eleven months. How would I manage as a disabled woman? How would I do the daily activities of living that I used to take for granted?
After attempting to reintegrate into the community, I quickly realized that in many ways the fear was justified. There were three major areas that caused me significant emotional pain, constant feelings of helplessness and a sadness that infected my mental health. Specifically, it was the barriers that I encountered with my health, housing and employment/career options.
As time went on and I began to make friends who were also disabled, I realized I was not unique. We were all able to tell the same stories. I began to think if able-bodied people were more aware of these issues I believed they would be willing to help find solutions. With my public health background and extensive experience in partnership development and management, I understood that the barriers we face with a physical disability are a social problem. It's a social problem that I believe people want to work together and solve.
I began to research the data. I knew the time was right to engage multi-sector organizations and corporations in helping to achieve the goals of my organization.
So, I took my more than fifteen years of management and marketing experience and my professional training in public health to launch Disability Partnerships.
I view the organization as an opportunity to do good, serve God, create beauty from ashes and demonstrate that together people really can make a difference.
Also, please take a minute and read my blog. My goal is to update at least 3 times a month. The purpose of the blog is to maintain an ongoing discussion about opportunities to improve the life of persons with physical disabilities in our program focus areas.
Working together to improve the quality of life for persons with physical disabilities!