mom with son sitting down

To the Lovely Lady Who Let Her Sons Say Hello to My Little Boy

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Dear Lovely Lady,

I saw you and your little boys when you first came into the restroom as I sat with our son laid out on the little sofa of the nursing room. I saw you glance our way several times as you helped your little ones wash their hands.

mom next to son in wheelchairOur eyes met in the mirror, and I smiled at you. I went about pouring formula into the tube that gives our son his main nutrients. I didn’t hear you come into the little room until you said hello and asked if it was OK to introduce your little boys to our little boy. At first I was a little shocked and it took a second to form the words, “Sure, it’s OK.” You asked what our boy’s name is and his age, and I responded. I was in awe of you as you introduced your little boys, who were 5 and 3. I watched your boys talk to our son, asking him how he was doing, what he was doing and what that tube going in his stomach was. I saw Blaine’s face light up, his eyes shining with his little crooked smile that I love so much and his little arms pulled up to his chest, trying to push his voice out, but he was so excited no sound came out. I watched you teach your boys a life lesson, and they responded to Blaine like he was just another little boy who they would play with.

I could barely believe it was all happening. It took my breath away. After a few minutes you gathered your little boys and had them say goodbye, as it was time to go back into the church service we were attending. On your way out the door, I finally found my voice. I told you thank you. A puzzled look came across your face and you asked for what. With tears streaming down my face, I explained it was for introducing your sons and acknowledging that our son was just another little boy like yours. You said, “Oh, but he is.” I said I know, but not everyone sees that. So many times we get the funny look or just ignored. You have no idea what it meant to me. You gave me hug and went on your way.

If I could tell you thank you again, I would. My heart will always be grateful for your kindness in the midst of a trying time in our life. Whenever the memory of that moment comes to mind I know that there’s still goodness in this world. I will never forget you. I pray often that God blesses you and your boys. From one mother to another, thank you.

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The Wheelchair Parody of 'All About That Bass' Is Better Than the Original

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This catchy song just got even more awesome.

YouTuber Heather Schouten did a creative parody of Meghan Trainor’s popular song, “All About That Bass.” But this version is called, “All About That Chair.”

“Yeah it’s pretty clear, these legs don’t work no more, but I can roll it, roll it, swiftly across that floor,” Schouten sings in the video below. “I got that vroom vroom that all the boys chase, and all the right spokes in all the right places.”

Watch the whole thing to start your week off with a smile:

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Striking Photo Series Challenges Any Single Definition of Beauty

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In the photograph below, Emily Sciarretta is singing on the Brooklyn Bridge. Next to her sits her service dog, Carmel. Beneath her is a motorized wheelchair. Behind her is the Freedom Tower. In front of her is photographer Sandra Arenas.

Sciaretta is focusing on her music and the empowering feeling she experiences as she sings it for passersby. When Arenas takes the picture, she doesn’t capture a woman with a disability sitting on a bridge with a dog by her side and a famous building behind her.

She captures a beautiful woman sharing her passion with complete strangers.

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Emily Sciarretta, 41. Photographed by Sandra Arenas.

The photograph is part of the Raw Beauty Project NYC, an endeavor challenging the conventional definition of beauty by featuring women living with disabilities in a photo series. It went on display on Sept. 20, 2014 at the ACA Galleries in New York City.

Sciarretta, 41, was one of the 20 women selected for the initiative. She lives with an Arnold Chiari malformation (a structural brain defect), Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (an inherited disorder that affects her connective tissues), a heart condition and a laundry list of diagnoses that challenge her every day. She wanted to model for Raw Beauty to show that she still finds beauty in life and in herself.

“Your diagnoses shouldn’t define you; you define you. That’s what this whole organization taught me,” Sciarretta told The Mighty. “I have so many diagnoses attached to me, but that’s not who I am. It’s what I do that matters.”

The project’s proceeds went to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. Visit its website to see the full photo series and scroll down to view a few we’ve selected for you.

Wendy Crawford, who co-chaired the NYC event with  Susan Solman, modeled in the first Raw Beauty exhibit in Miami in 2006. When she was 19, she was in an accident with a drunk driver and subsequently became a quadriplegic. She’s since worked to advocate for women with disabilities, given a powerful TEDx Talk on what it means to be beautiful and founded mobileWOMEN.org, an online magazine for women in wheelchairs. The Raw Beauty Project aligns perfectly with her goals.

“I think we all look at the outside world to define us,” Crawford explained to The Mighty. “You look at a magazine and say, ‘Oh I should look like this.’ But to see the Raw Beauty models feel beautiful for who they are and be able to welcome and understand and be empowered by that, it works to increase our own self-acceptance and confidence — and the acceptance of others.”

Emily Ladau, a 23-year-old Raw Beauty model, hopes that when people see the photographs, they realize the project is more about beauty than disability.

“Disability doesn’t detract from beauty,” Ladau told The Mighty, “and we need to expand our definition of beauty because it’s actually all around us.”

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Emily Ladau, 23. Photographed by Carey Wagner.
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Aimee Hoffman, 37. Photographed by Alex Barberio.
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Christy Cruz, 32. Photographed by Yachin Parham.
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Carlana Stone, 46. Photographed by Michael Haber.
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Danielle Sheypuk, 36. Photographed by George Whiteside.
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Andrea Dalzell, 27. Photographed by Paula Vasone.
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Heroes Finally Get the Recognition They Deserve

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Veterans with disabilities are finally getting the recognition they deserve.

On October 5, the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial (AVDLM) will officially be dedicated and opened in Washington, D.C. The $80-million memorial will honor the country’s four million veterans who return from service with some kind of disability, according to AVDLM’s website. In addition, the memorial will honor those who take care of these wounded heroes.

One such caregiver is Donna Joyner, who’s been helping her husband every day for the last 33 years. In a profile in The Washington Times, Joyner describes how she cares for Dennis Joyner, a triple amputee who lost both his legs and his left hand while serving in the Vietnam War. She eventually quit her job in 2008 to care for him full-time. She told the paper:

I gave up my job, the income, any pension that I would have received. I will not get as much Social Security when I get to be that age because I had to leave and take care of my husband, because my husband was totally incapacitated, and we did not want him to go to a rehab facility, because he wouldn’t get the care at a rehab facility that he would with me. That’s where the compassion comes in.

The new memorial is completely handicap accessible and features 12-foot granite walls with inscribed quotes from leaders like George Washington and Dwight D. Eisenhower, according to The New York Times. There’s a star-shaped fountain — one point for each branch of the United States military — with a flame at the center. It also features bronze statues, which blind visitors are encouraged to touch.

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The memorial is located on Capitol Hill. Donna Joyner told The Washington Times she hopes that lawmakers will see it and be reminded of the cost of war.

Check out this time lapse video of the memorial being erected:

h/t Nation Swell

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3-Year-Old Golfer With One Arm Will Put Your Skills to Shame

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Tommy Morrissey’s obsession with golf began at only 13 months. Now, two years later, he’s become an inspiration to all those watch him play.

Tommy, who comes from Linwood, New Jersey, can drive the ball 100 yards — an impressive feat for someone his age. His form and consistency are nearly perfect, and he does it all with just one arm.

Tommy was born with just his left arm due to a blood clot that caused his right limb to never develop, according to Fox 29 Philadelphia. That hasn’t stopped him from becoming a stellar talent.

“Tommy excels at everything he does, he’s been able to achieve tremendous goals for a child that’s facing a two-handed world as a one-handed little boy,” his father, Joe Morrissey, says in the video below.

 

Tommy’s parents told Golfer’s Digest that he started emulating the professional golfers he watched on TV when he was just 18 months old. They bought him a plastic set of clubs, and he spent hours hitting balls around the yard. It wasn’t long before they let him play for real.

“Most kids have stuffed animals in their cribs. Tommy slept with his golf clubs,” Marcia Lee, his mother, told Press of Atlantic City. “And it wasn’t just one club. He had eight in there.”

Tommy nicknamed himself “Nemo” after the fish with an underdeveloped fin in Disney’s “Finding Nemo,” according to Fox 29. And much like his film counterpart, he’s become an inspiration to many.

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Comedian Hilariously Mocks People's Poor Reactions to His Disability

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One comedian has found a way to bridge the sometimes-awkward social gap between people with and without disabilities: The power of laughter.

Ryan Niemiller was born with a disability in both arms. He’s a self-proclaimed “Cripple Threat of Comedy” and often makes stand-up material out of his disability. His perspective lets him turn awkward encounters into both comedy and a teaching tool for his audience.

In a recently uploaded clip from the TV show “Laughs” (below), Niemiller pokes fun at the inappropriate way some people have handled meeting a person with no arms.

See his hilarious response to these moments in the clip below and follow him on Twitter for more jokes.

 

h/t Upworthy

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