Spina Bifida myelomeningocele
My journey of living with Spina Bifida started back in May of 1978. My father was stationed in South Vietnam serving in the Air Force. Like most, he was exposed to the chemical Agent Orange which was a herbicide that was used to combat the Vietnamese in “jungle warfare” when it was leaked into the local water supply. Because of his exposure to this chemical, I was born with Spina Bifida Myelomeningocele.
Just like anyone with Spina Bifida, this lead to many challenges in everyday life ranging from problems in school to very mundane things that a lot of “ambulatory” people take for granted. Luckily, not only did I have a very supportive family who never saw me as “handicapped”, but I was more mobile than most people born with my condition. My family has supported me in every endeavor that I chose, and most importantly, instilled in me that I can achieve anything that I put my mind to! It will just take more work and dedication than a “normal person”.
I am a product of the system, which is something that I now wear as a badge of honor. With the help of occupational and physical therapy throughout my education experience, I have graduated not only from high school, but from Elon University with a Bachelor of Arts in broadcast communications and a minor in film studies. I have also acquired an adaptive teaching licensure form Greensboro College.
For the past four years, I have been working as an employment specialist at Cape Fear Vocational Services. My main responsibility with the company is to go out in the community and establish business relationships. I have made long standing relationships with companies such as Longhorn Steakhouse, Food Lion, Cracker Barrel, and Walgreens. I am chairperson of the Spina Bifida Association of the Carolinas, but to also be a member of the SBA's Field and Relations Committee.
What I want people to not only know about myself and people with Spina Bifida is that Spina Bifida is NOT A DEATH SENTENCE. We are living longer and healthier lives and can achieve anything that any “normal person” can. With the assistance of technology and social media, our potential is endless.