“If we see people with disabilities as passive recipients of care rather than as participants in the work of the kingdom, then we fail to understand the radical nature of God’s work in the world.” This is a quote I read in a blog post of an author who writes on having a child with Down Syndrome. Her name is Amy Julia Becker. I thought it was beautifully written so I wanted to share it.
I wrote an article that was published last week for the DMAN Foundation called A Donation from an Unexpected Donor. It was about a little girl with a disability named Brianna, and Amy Julia’s quote reminded me of my article so I wanted to share some of it:
Brianna Vitale was injured in a car wreck that left her paralyzed from the neck down and a C2-C3 quadriplegic at only age three. She is a patient of the DMAN Music Therapy Studio in Michigan where she receives regular music-therapy sessions on Fridays.
She surprised the chairman of the foundation while visiting the office one day when she gave him an envelope. When he opened it, he found a surprise–700 dollars in cash. She held a lemonade stand at “Heritage Days,” a local festival in Michigan to raise money for the foundation because she wanted other handicapped kids to enjoy the music-therapy studio.
Attendees were able to hold a booth at no charge. Assisted by her nurse, mother, two older sisters, younger brother, and grandfather, Bri sold lemonade. She also gave some of the proceeds to the Make a Wish Foundation.
Music therapy has really helped her with recovery. She talks with a whisper. This can be a common side effect for someone with a Trach. The therapy is great because while she is exercising her vocal chords, she is making her voice stronger. The hope is that she will be able to get rid of the ventilator.
Bri has lived through a tragedy that would be hard for many adults to face; but her physical limitations have not affected her spirit or the size of her heart.
She is twelve and when my accident happened I was sixteen. I’ll never forget how I felt when my sister and nurse broke the news to me, that some of the hospital staff wanted them to tell me I would never walk again.
“They are saying you aren’t going to walk,” my sister said with Regina, my nurse, quietly standing behind her. Regina’s hands were clasped as if she were in prayer mode; her presence was strong, her support. “But listen, you know about Jesus and you have faith.”
I can’t explain how I felt in those moments. It’s a feeling I will never forget. A feeling I pray for no one to ever experience but my sister was right, I did know Jesus and I did have faith. I just had not realized how well I knew him.
This is a poem I wrote in the hospital at that time:
GOD I am crying, crying out to you.
Will you help me, help me get through.
Through the hard times with faith, strength and wisdom.
And be able to face whatever the outcome.
I will give my hardest to do what I think is best for me.
With everything I got, heart, mind, ability will you hold my hand through this PLEASE?
But if in the end I will be upset, I’ll be thankful, thankful for being here with family and friends.
And thank you God we finally met.
Music therapy is helping Brianna and last week my doctor said I am still making progress. Recovery from SCI can take months, typically years but we should never give up on hope to recover, because it’s never too late!