Age 42, Cerebral Palsy
Photographed by Sarah Mattingly
“Come towards me, show me what you got,” I remember those words coming from the doctor who performed (5) surgeries on me when I was little. At age 8, I walked across the cold white tiled clinic floor to Dr. Walker. I took tiny steps pushing my walker, it felt surreal; this was the first time I saw the world from a standing position. I could stand without falling over.
From that day forward I learned that hard work pays off. Living with Cerebral Palsy makes the mundane tasks that some abled bodied people take for granted a challenge. Showering, dressing, brushing my teeth, getting on the metro for work and my new role as mom make me feel like I’m in a marathon. During college and throughout my careers as a teacher, paralegal, federal work and business owner, I was often the only one with a disability. This realization encouraged me to become an advocate for equality. When I see a need- I look for a solution. I love travel but could never find a travel specialist who understood my limited mobility concerns while on vacations. The solution was to become a travel specialist in accessible travel options. In 2013, JTMVacations was born. My next endeavor is to create a nonprofit that pairs able-bodied volunteers to assist persons with disabilities while on vacation. When I’m called an inspiration, I smile, “I am just living my life.”
“I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much.” –Mother Teresa