I've always told my stepdaughter Holly, who was born with a disability, that she shouldn't automatically assume that she can't do something until she's tried it. While her upper body is plenty strong, she has only limited use of her legs. Still, she should make stuff beat her before she put anything into the impossible-for-her column. Her Mom and her Real Dad have told her much the same thing. It hasn't been until later that we realized just how far she had taken that advice. When her older sister Janel went exploring the canyons outside of Chico with her boyfriend, Holly sometimes went along. Derek, now Janel's husband, would carry her piggyback down some harrowing cliffs to the water below. They called it 'turtling'. I call it crazy. I have since seen some of the places they went. It's a good thing Holly's mom didn't know about it at the time--her head might have exploded or something. Though Derek doesn't look like it, he must be part Sherpa. Remember, he had to carry her back up the cliff as well.
When she got it into her head to go to Catalina Island, it was not her way to hang out on the pedestrian and wheelchair friendly village that most people are familiar with. Her and one of her girlfriends had decided to go camping, and so disembarked on the pier with clothes, tent, wheelchair, and an inflatable raft that they christened the 'Bucket of Blood' They talked some people on a yacht to drop them off at the relatively flat spot they had chosen for a campsite, threw everything into the 'Bucket of Blood' and paddled ashore. The people in the yacht came by every day to be sure they were alright, and they eventually made their way back to the pier to go home.
None of this stuff would have happened in exactly the same way if Holly did not have a disability. She would have no doubt scaled the cliffs and got to the campsite without assistance, but her guts and determination brought out the best in Derek and the people on the yacht, and gave them something to talk about. I think knowing Holly has been a blessing to us all--a lot of obstacles that seem so formidable shrink in size when you look at them through the perspective of one very determined young woman in a wheelchair.
You are a woman whose husband is not present at the moment and you have a heavy piece of furniture to move? If you can get a piece of carpet under it, you can probably move it. Your alternator quits working in the middle of the night, hundreds of miles from home? You can plan your stops for an open gas station with a restaurant nearby, where you can get a couple of hours worth of charge for your battery in the time it takes to eat something and linger over coffee until the wait staff start looking at you funny. I've seen Holly drag herself up five or six steep stairs, dragging her chair behind her, because there is something up there that requires her presence.
It's no wonder that she was the star of the show when she showed up at a construction sight for Habitat for Humanity in Texas, wielding a screwdriver, saw or hammer as circumstances allowed. They slept in the basement of a black Baptist church, and were deeply moved that someone with the difficulties she had showed up to help THEM out. It didn't hurt that she was a Baptist too, and knew the same hymns and prayers that they did. By the end of Sunday services, there was not a dry eye in the house, and I think there were a few people who thought their problems were a little more manageable than they thought.
Causes David Beemer Supports
Wife works as an advocate for Seniors. Sponser a child through World Vision