Blindside to the Flip Side

by Jenny Addis

No one believes tragedy can hit home. We have this mindset that it happens to other people, not to ourselves, our loved ones, or someone we know. I was living a life that seemed perfect and what most people would call “normal.” Growing up in in a small town, Muskego, Wisconsin, with my supportive parents and four brothers, provided me with a stable family life. In turn, it molded me into an outgoing, positive, and confident young woman living life with dreams and aspirations—until that unimaginable tragedy struck me and my family’s lives. My positivity, confidence, and faith would soon be put to the test.

What was about to happen next blindsided me, my family, friends, and our entire community. We learned quickly just how fragile we really are and how life can change in just a blink of an eye, without any notice.

The night of March 16, 1997, my designated driver made a critical decision that profoundly changed my life forever. After giving a bachelorette party for my future sister-in-law, I was one of four passengers in a horrific drunk driving accident. My world as I knew it changed forever.

My Birthday Lifetime of Thankfulness Revelation

by Amy Saffell

This summer, I had a big birthday…the kind that ends in a 0. For me, this milestone was a threshold that a lot of my friends had already crossed, so even though it was strange that it was actually me this time, I embraced the dawn of a new decade. 

As is true for a lot of people, events such as these make me examine where I’ve been and where I’m going.  As I thought about it, I saw that where I’d been had been a lot of places, both physically and metaphorically, and that my life has been enriched by a plethora of factors, regardless of whether or not I realized it at the time. Perhaps surprisingly, many of these life-enriching experiences I attribute to my disability. People have a tendency to focus on what a disability takes away from a person’s life and don’t see the value that having a disability can hold. Being born with spina bifida, I've had a lifetime of learning to cherish the unique opportunities that my disability has brought to me. Now that it's the time of year where people think about what they’re thankful for, I can truly say that I am thankful for the experiences that my disability has afforded me.