My Uncle Isn't 'Wheelchair Bound'

My uncle is a wheelchair user. He has cerebral palsy, and for him that wheelchair means freedom. His Dynavox is his voice. My uncle is simply amazing. His smile lights up a room and is difficult to forget. Wherever he goes, he leaves the people he meets feeling happier than they did before he entered the room.

My uncle has a sense of humor. He has a heart of gold and would do anything to help anyone he loves. There was a point in time where he was able to teach others like him how to use their own Dynavox. His wheelchair gave him the freedom to do just that.

My uncle regularly goes to self advocacy conferences, at least one per year. Because he has his wheelchair and his Dynavox, he is able to learn how to better advocate for himself and his needs. Because he has these tools, he was recently able to let the staff from the state Department of Developmental Services and the staff from his house know that he wanted to pick me for his guardian.

My uncle also goes on a cruise every year, which he really enjoys. Because he has his wheelchair, he is able to go on vacation and truly enjoy himself as a result of the freedom his wheelchair provides him. He also attends a daily rehab program, where the staff there teach him the tools he needs to be successful in the world.

My uncle’s wheelchair allows him to go see his favorite sports teams in his favorite stadiums. He is able to go see his Red Sox play when they’re in season. He’s able to go see Boston College hockey games. He is able to do what makes him happy. He is able to live his life, and spread kindness wherever life takes him.

My uncle is not confined to his wheelchair. He isn’t wheelchair bound. His wheelchair is his freedom to go and enjoy his life, to learn new skills every day. It is his freedom to spread his fantastic smile and his incredible sense of positivity with the world around him.

My uncle is funny. My uncle is smart. My uncle leaves trails of positivity wherever he goes. But whatever you do, don’t you dare tell me that he is wheelchair bound. My uncle is my best friend, and one of my favorite people to be near. My uncle is spectacular.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Cerebral Palsy

Richard Ellenson with Micah Fowler and Jessy Yates.

Why 'Speechless' Matters to the Disability Community -- and the World

Richard Ellenson is CEO of the Cerebral Palsy Foundation. Tonight, the second season of “Speechless” comes to an end. “Speechless” is a show that has sent thunderclaps of recognition and empowerment throughout the entire disability community. It leaves us in its season finale with the DiMeo family sharing a warm, if slightly odd moment together: [...]
Brett in his Freedom Chair.

How an Off-Road Wheelchair Gives Me Freedom

Those of us who use manual wheelchairs are often forced to accept certain environmental limitations. Whether it’s broken pavement on a sidewalk, missing curb cuts, steep hills or simply rough terrain, necessity forces wheelchair users to become experts at navigation. On the flip side however, new accessible technology also means these types of challenges can [...]
Woman writing in notebook.

Finding Balance as a Writer With Cerebral Palsy

I am a writer.  I spend my days playing with words, spilling my thoughts and pouring out my heart in the hope that someone, even if it is only myself, will learn from my mistakes. I am a woman with cerebral palsy.  I spend my days relentlessly analyzing my gait, adapting to the world around [...]
Flying bird.

How My Caregivers Have Given Me the Wings to Fly

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Becca, and I am probably one of the most stubborn people you will ever meet. I don’t like to ask for help. Despite growing up with cerebral palsy, I was fiercely determined to be as independent as possible. My stubborn nature is arguably what has propelled me [...]