This is a throwback to the first post we made on our old website. It is fitting that we post it again, as our new website is officially up and running. Enjoy!
Today we are beginning a new journey, and we would like to kick start this website by discussing the topic of abilities.
Every individual has a unique set of abilities. The word ability refers to being able to do something, whether a natural aptitude or an acquired proficiency which may change as we go through life. Being different on a physical level does not negate this fact.
Unfortunately, sometimes it seems that people tend to focus on the disabilities of individuals. However, we believe that it is more important to focus on people overcoming obstacles, and capitalizing on whatever areas they can. We agree with world record holder Robert M. Hensel when he says, “I choose not to place ‘DIS’ in my ability.”
Hensel himself, born with the birth defect Spina bifida, is a prime example of overcoming obstacles. In addition to being a Pushcart Prize Nominee, an Olympic torch carrier, and a significant global advocate for the rights and treatment of individuals with disabilities, he is also a Guinness Book and Ripley’s world record holder. In October 2003, he completed a 6.178 mile long wheelie in his chair. Hensel’s efforts show us that there is no limit to the possibilities that individuals have.
It is true that each individual has a different capacity depending on what activity or ability we think about. However, it is our philosophy that with support and nourishment there is no limit to our development as individuals. In the vein of accomplishments there have been many individuals who have overcome great obstacles. Beethoven continued composing music, writing what many consider his best piece (the 9th Symphony), after he developed deafness. Trischa Zorn, who has been blind since birth, is considered to be the most successful Paralympic athlete of all time. Swimming from the 1980 games in Arnhem, to the 1996 games in Atlanta, she collected 55 medals, including 41 gold. Lisa Fittipaldi, a painter and author, learned how to paint after she lost her vision, and then she wrote a book about her experiences. She used painting as a means to find her place in the world after losing her sight. In addition to her inspiring use of color, she is well known for knowing which color she used only by feeling the texture of the paint.
Another individual, who became a quadriplegic after being thrown from a horse during an equestrian competition, went on to lobby on behalf of individuals with spinal cord injuries, and for stem cell research. He was Christopher Reeve. In addition, he co-founded the Reeve-Irvine Research Center, and founded the Christopher Reeve Foundation, which is dedicated to finding treatments and cures for paralysis, and also works to improve the quality of life for people living with disabilities. And, famously, Franklin D. Roosevelt did not let Polio keep him from becoming the President of the United States.
The stories of these individuals are just a handful of examples to inspire us to strive for higher ground in our lives. Each of us can live a fulfilling life if we work together, supporting and inspiring each other all of the way.
And so, in addition to being a source of information for the I AM organization, we hope that this web site will be an epicenter of inspiration and a celebration of abilities.
“I have a disability yes that’s true, but all that really means is I may have to take a slightly different path than you.” -Robert M. Hensel