BIG SUPPORT TOWARDS ACCEPTANCE.

Today is one of my favorite days of the year and it always makes me want to celebrate God’s gift of life. However, life shouldn’t only be celebrated one day each year, instead every day of our lives. The International Day Of Acceptance takes place every January 20th and I’m proud to celebrate this special day. On previous blogs I’ve shown my love for the symbol of a stick figure dude sitting on wheels and if you know me, you know how much I love it. This symbol promotes society to accept those on wheels as equal people. Also it encourages individuals to accept their lives no matter what their circumstances are and to live life to the very fullest. In this blog, I’ll share an awesome experience, the way others should support the acceptance of individuals in any condition and the power it has on their lives. Okay, let’s roll.

Ten years ago I moved into this amazing country. For years, I wanted to visit the Mexico I left behind. However, I was afraid since most parts of my country are not wheelchair friendly. Although, when I met this symbol of acceptance I discovered I shouldn’t let my circumstances stop me from doing anything in life. This is because I know I’m equal to those able-bodied individuals. My whole life I have fought to achieve everything I’ve dream for and one of my dreams was to go back to Mexico and visit my family.

I had the dream to visit Mexico because of it’s food, because almost all my family is there and because all of my childhood memories remain on that country. The street where I used to live means a lot to me because all of my cousins used to live there as well. That was a street that unified people by strong feelings and blood. A street where I used to play everyday after school. A street where all my cousins, aunts, and uncles breath an equal air. A street that contains my pink house at the end of it. A two floor house with a clothing workshop in the back. A house that took my parents lots of effort to built. A house my family and I left behind to look for better opportunities for myself. A house we left in order to search for better lands. Lands full of immigrants with dreams to reach. Lands where everyone has an equal chance to get to the top. Lands where disable individuals have equal opportunities. Lands where my currently home is at. I’ve missed all the toys in the shape of action figures I had at my old home. I’ve missed all the laughs I had from playing in the street. I’ve missed the days spent kicking a ball in my garage with my cousins. I’ve missed all those friendly punches in the sofa with my brother. I’ve missed those loud family reunions at my uncle’s basement. As of now missing all of that has paid off. As of now I’m making the best out of the opportunities this country offers. As of now my school graduation is closer. As of now I’m closer towards achieving my American dream.

But despite all of that, I never forgot my Mexico even after several years of not going there I kept it on a corner of my heart. For that reason me and my family worked very hard to achieve the dream of me visiting Mexico. Finally after ten years, I went to roll on through my Mexican lands. I didn’t go to my actual homeland but I went to the beach. On that place I found multiple hills, shoes hanging on the cables on the streets, vans that were not wheelchair accessible, narrow side walks, lots of family and most importantly pure acceptance towards me.

Yes I found pure acceptance towards individuals on wheels even in a country where opportunities are not the same towards those with disabilities. The first day I arrived there in order to get in and out of a van they used a table as a ramp but I got into the van. They used the resources they had available in order to make it accessible despite my circumstances. Furthermore, my big family met up with me at the beach and they showed me acceptance as well. We all got a tattoo of the symbol of acceptance. First, five of my cousins got it and then all of them did it. But also, I felt accepted and supported by every family member and they all made my Mexico a more wheelchair friendly place. Proving that working together nothing is impossible to those on wheels. There wasn’t a wheelchair to go on the sand but there were strong hands willing to carry me there. I’m very fortunate to have such a supportive family back in my loved lands. They never forgot about me even though I spent ten years without seeing most of them.

This is a small example that shows the power of accepting those on wheels. When able-bodied individuals accept people with disabilities they are helping them to accomplish their dreams despite their circumstances. It seemed impossible for me to go in to the sand or to even visit Mexico. However, my big family took two letters out of the word “impossible” making my dream, “possible”. That’s exactly what can happen in any country across the world if you truly accept everyone as equal. So, I encourage you that are reading this right now to accept everyone as equal and help them overcome their struggles with all the resources you are bless with. The difference that you’ll make on their lives is huge! If you are really passionate about this kind of stuff challenge yourself and make a bigger difference by dedicating your work towards making every country have the same opportunities to everyone. Furthermore, if you have a disability or any condition all you have to do is never give up towards achieving your goals no matter what, and accept yourself with everything God gave you. Overall, let’s enjoy this ride of life to the fullest and don’t forget to thank God for each day that you get to wake up.

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A symbol that CHANGED my life forever

imageA few years ago I didn’t actually realized until now but I used to not accept myself the way I was born. I thought that having Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy was always going to be an obstacle in my life no matter how hard I try. Finishing a career to me seemed like it wasn’t going to happen. It seemed to me impossible to one day live on my own and pay others to help me with my everyday tasks. I thought there was no way I could live without the help of my amazing family. Even on my Facebook I wouldn’t put pictures of myself because I was sitting in a wheelchair.

Accepting myself was very difficult, but eventually I did it. Mainly this was thanks to a great experience that I had in the summer of 2010. That year I attended the Muscular Dystrophy Association camp for the first time. It was a week long summer camp for kids with very similar disabilities to mine. For that week I was paired up with someone able- bodied to help me with my daily tasks. To be honest I didn’t really felt like going to that camp at all. Having an stranger help me did not sound it fun. The whole idea of going away from my family for a week terrified me.

Today i’m glad I did took the chance to attend that camp because after that week I wasn’t the same person anymore. I became a much wiser one and my perception in the way I view my disability changed forever and for the better. At the summer camp, I saw many kids that just by interacting with them or looking at them interact with others inspired me. All of them were happy with who they are. That influenced me to change in a way but in particularly a really special unique symbol changed me. Throughout the week I kept on seeing that symbol. I would see people at the camp with tattoos of the symbol. A couple of the kids at camp had the symbol in shirts and bracelets. That symbol was similar to the original wheelchair logo but instead of having a wheel it had a heart. The moment I saw it I thought it was an awesome creative symbol. Once I found out the meaning of it, I fall even more in love with it.

In the middle of the week Stevie Hopkins the co-founder of the symbol visited the camp. Apparently he had gone to that camp in the past. The camp director gather up in a circle the older kids at the camp. In the middle of the circle Stevie gave a great speech that explained the powerful meaning of the symbol. He told us that it is a symbol of acceptance. It encourages society to accept people with disabilities and treat them equally. On the other hand, this symbol encourages people with disabilities to accept their challenges and even embrace them. By replacing the wheel with a heart, the stigma of the wheelchair is also removed, and it can be a symbol for people with any disability or impairment. It represents the person, not society’s perception of their lack in physical abilities. The symbol is an attitude and a lifestyle. It’s accepting one’s abilities and rallying around that diversity and turning it into strength. It’s loving and living life to the fullest no matter who you are, how many years you live, what you look like, and what you can or cannot do.

Stevie Hopkins then briefly explained how the symbol was created. Here is a summary of his explanation:

The symbol was created by his sister Annie Hopkins. She drew this symbol for a dorm t-shirt at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Later on, she got a tattoo of the symbol and everyone loved the tattoo. Later, they secured the legal rights to the wheelchair heart symbol and incorporated a company named 3E Love, LLC and begun selling t-shirts as a means to pay the startup costs. Apperantly, his sister was pretty outgoing and she loved life despite her physical conditions. She wanted to change the way everyone view a disability and to have others accept those with disabilities as equals. To her a disability did not meant anything and she wanted everyone to believe that as well. Unfortunately in January 20th, 2009 a devastating event took place. Annie passed away due to complications from a feeding tube placement.

The powerful meaning of the symbol encouraged me to love life despite of my physical circumstances. Most importantly, I accepted myself as equal to everyone able-bodied. Just like everyone else I have dreams and one of those is to finish a career. Honestly, I thought that due to my disability that wasn’t going to be possible. However, Stevie Hopkins and Annie proved to me that obtaining a degree with a disability is possible. Therefore, they became one of my motivations to not let my disability stop me from doing anything and achieving all my goals. Now, I want to prove that I am no different than anyone able-bodied by graduating from college and even be able to get a place to live on my own one day and hiring others to help me.

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Today January 20th the international day of acceptance is celebrated in honor to Annie Hopkins. It has been eight years since she passed away and I never even got the chance to meet her. However, the message that she wanted to spread across the world changed my life and improved it for the better. I would like to thank her today for creating a symbol with such powerful meaning that changed my life and helped me become a much wiser disabled person. I’ve embrace my disability and I don’t regret it at all. I will always love my life despite of my physical circumstances.

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I LOVE LIFE.♿👌😍👯👩👱🍺👍🎧 🏈⚽🍕🍣🍔☕🌄🌈🎂🎓🎬🎢

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