These ‘Champions of Autism’ Want You to Hear Them Roar

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“I am a champion, and you’re gonna hear me roar.”

In the video below,  a group of champions, brought together by the Autism Council of Utah, lip-synch those inspiring lyrics from Katy Perry’s “Roar” to celebrate National Autism Awareness Month this April.

“Autism can be a heavy diagnosis for a family to bear,” Amy Baker, of the Autism Council of Utah told The Mighty in an email, “BUT it can also bring a refreshing sense of innocence [and] open our minds as we try to look at life through their eyes and give us moments of pure joy. For every tear, frustration and worry, we need a good dose of laughter, a glimmer of hope and a fun video to put a big smile on our face!”

To get involved in the autism community, visit the Autism Society’s website.

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College Basketball Player Doesn’t See His Younger Sister as ‘Different’

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When Devin Oliver, a senior on the University of Dayton’s basketball team, first learned his younger sister, Miya, has Down syndrome, he knew more than ever that he’d always have to look out for her. But Miya looks out for him, too.

Even on Saturday, when Dayton lost to the University of Florida in the Elite 8, ending their season, Miya stood in the stands, cheering her brother on.

Before that game, Devin, Miya and their parents sat down with CBS Sports to talk about the incredible family bond they share. You can view that conversation below.

Dayton may have lost Saturday’s game, but the Oliver family didn’t lose anything.

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Watch The Moving Moment A Woman, Deaf Her Whole Life, Hears For The First Time

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Joanne Milne can finally listen to music. She can hear her friends laugh and birds chirp and the sound of her own voice.

The 40-year-old woman from Gateshead, England, was born deaf and began losing her vision in her 20s, according to the Journal. She suffers from Usher syndrome, a condition that can result in hearing and vision loss.

Last month, Milne underwent surgery to receive cochlear implants — small devices designed to help deaf people hear. In the video below, when the implants are switched on, Milne hears for the first time in her life. Her friend, Tremayne Crossley, captured the beautiful moment on film.

“I’m so happy,” Milne told the Journal. “Over the last 48 hours hearing someone laughing behind me, the birds twittering and just being with friends… They didn’t have to tap my arm to get my attention which is a massive leap.”

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The Beautiful Message 15 People With Down Syndrome Had for a Scared Future Mom

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When a soon-to-be mom learned her baby has Down syndrome, she wrote her concerns to CoorDown, Italy’s National Coordination of Associations for People with Down Syndrome.

“I’m scared,” she said in the email. “What kind of life will my child have?”

Fifteen people, all who have Down syndrome, gave her a heartwarming answer:

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Why I Love My Wife

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I came home one evening and our kitchen table was lined with about a dozen plants with a note attached to each. Ah, Christmas gifts for my daughter’s teachers, therapists and aides. She’s a kid with special needs and these gifts were for all the people who help fill those needs with their special talents.

Three things about these plants really pleased me.

1. I hadn’t bought presents for my family yet, let alone others. Check these off the list.

2. There was no sign of glitter. I hate glitter. I’m like a magnet for glitter. A week after a glitterfest with our kids and co-workers are still asking me if I just came from a princess party.

3. I read the card. Wow. I actually had to take a moment. I find it difficult to tell these teachers, therapists and aides – truly exceptional people who help my kid gain the courage to engage a big, scary world – how much we appreciate what they do. And more importantly, remind them how big of an impact they have on her life. There aren’t many people she knows by name.  Those she does are VIPs in our book. With this little gift, with the words on the card, with the genuine thought and feeling that went into it, my wife nailed it. She expressed our gratitude in a way they would feel.

I love my wife for so many reasons. Today it’s because she can make a $5 gift feel like a million bucks.

Christmas note, gift

The Mighty is celebrating the moments we gave or received a gift that touched our lives in a special way. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post describing this moment for you. Include a photo and 1-2 sentence bio to community@themighty.comHint! Some gifts don’t come in packages.

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Lying in a Hospital Bed 3 Years Ago, She Made a Vow. 'Look How Far I Have Come.'

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When her lung capacity dropped to 60 percent, 19-year-old Sophie Holmes was rushed to the hospital and spent 3 weeks there hooked up to tubes and monitors.

“Being in the hospital was horrible,” she says. “I felt so weak and I was terrified cystic fibrosis was going to get the better of me.”

Anna Holmes, Sophie Holmes

Although there is no cure for the genetic condition that clogs the lungs with mucus, targeted treatments have increased life expectancy dramatically in the last 50 years. In 1959, children with cystic fibrosis rarely lived past 6. Today, the median life expectancy is in the late 30s, though it varies greatly based on the severity of the condition.

“I knew I never wanted to feel like this again, so I stopped moping in self-pity and did something about it,” Holmes says. “I made a vow to myself to make my health a priority.”

“I thought that being a personal trainer would be a great way to make my health my life,” Sophie says. “It would be my job to look after my health, so I wouldn’t have any excuses to not take care of myself.”

Her older sister Anna quit her job to help Sophie in her quest. Three years after Sophie’s stay in the hospital, they are both personal trainers and run their own business in the United Kingdom.

Anna and Sophie Holmes

“Cardiovascular exercise can help CF sufferers, and I wanted to make it a fundamental part of my life to give myself the best shot,” Sophie says. “I’m determined to not let cystic fibrosis stop me from pursuing my dreams.”

“You can do anything when you put your mind to it. Although my illness is serious, I don’t believe it has to define me as a person, and now look how far I have come.”

“People who suffer from cystic fibrosis shouldn’t let it hold them back. Now I want to inspire others to reach their potential and beyond.”

Help Sophie motivate others. Share her story.

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