themighty logo

Teen Who Can't Walk or Talk Wants You to Know One Thing

It’s hard for a lot of us to look in the mirror and be happy with what we see. This teen hopes to change that.

Cashel Gardner, 17, was born with Type 1 Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). The genetic disorder makes him completely paralyzed and unable to speak. While it would be easy for someone in his position to be sad or bitter, Cashel believes that he’s perfect just the way he is.

In the inspirational video below, Cashel explains that people are the summation of all their parts, both the good and the bad. His powerful words are heard through a voice synthesizer. Because of his condition, he had to type the speech with one finger, according to the video.

“Please remember to feel complete and perfect, too, about who you are,” he says in the clip. “Because without all the pieces of who you are, you wouldn’t be you. And I bet you are amazing.”

When Cashel was born, doctors told his parents that he likely wouldn’t live past the age of 2. Not only did he beat those odds, his younger sister did as well. Allie Gardner also lives with Type 1 SMA, according to their mom, Sandy Gardner’s website. With her help, the siblings act as SMA advocates. Cashel even has an awareness campaign devoted to spreading the word and finding a cure.

“I want to find a cure for SMA, but I do not want it for me, I want it for my little sister, Allie, so she can dance with a boy at her senior prom,” he writes on the SMA it Forward Facebook account. “I want it for all the babies and young children so they can grow up and find another way, other than having SMA, to make a difference and have a special life.”

To learn more about SMA and help raise awareness, follow Cashel’s Facebook page.

Feel inspired. Like us on Facebook.