I am a person with a disability: Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. It didn't come upon me suddenly--I was born with it. I was not expected to live past the age of fifteen, but now at age 37 I am still ticking. At age eleven I ended up in a wheelchair; my legs had become so weak that I was no longer able to walk or stand. When I was 26 I was trached and hooked to a ventilator. The ventilator assists my breathing. Without it, I would not be here today. Modern technology has given me, and others like me, a new lease on life. I am thankful to live in a country that has made this possible. Every birthday I celebrate is a personal victory over my disease.
It may seem to some people that I don't have much quality of life. I beg to differ. Although I am unable to walk, have limited use of my hands, and need a vent to breathe, I can describe my life as relatively content. There is much for me to live for: my family, good friends, spending time with my niece and nephews. I try not to dwell on what I can't do, but focus instead on what I can do. I try not to dwell on the past or the future, but live in the present. As Eleanor Roosevelt said: " Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is mystery. Today is a gift."