Growing up with spina bifida, a birth defect that affects the spine, I was never physically active. I believed my disability excluded me from keeping fit. My peers would ridicule me in gym class because I could not keep up. Their mocking left me self-conscious.
Since I attended my first SB&H meeting in Toronto as a 19 year old Brock Music major from Niagara on the Lake, my life has grown and shifted in ways that I never could have imagined. I’ve conquered some incredibly steep and slippery slopes, and have been places and seen things that most people can only read about. I truly feel blessed, and overwhelmingly grateful. Knock on wood that my luck continues in health and wellness through 2013 and the years that follow.
“I was nervous… about seeing my own back... something that nobody sees... out in the open. I thought my back was going to be… what’s the word... grotesque? After I saw it, I thought, that’s not bad. It is my body and that’s it.”
Since I was a child I was encouraged to be as independent as possible. My family, teachers, doctors and therapists would all tell me to not let my spina bifida diagnosis prevent me from living a ‘normal’ life and for the most part, I had a relatively normal childhood. I was integrated into public school system in Brampton from the time I was in junior kindergarten and in my mind I was just like any other kid, but I happened to use a wheelchair.
My husband Frank’s journey began in the Spring of 2011. We had been retired by then for nearly 19 years. We try to stay active and enjoy walking, especially along the Seawalls in West Vancouver or North Vancouver. We also went to the local Recreation Center for Senior’s exercises on a weekly basis. So life was rolling along very well and we were both enjoying travel and good health.