Celebrating the Extreme Athlete in All of Us

By Kara Aiello

Some of the great interviews that I have done for mobileWOMEN.org stem from women in sports, and that includes women with disabilities, which is a very exciting topic to expand upon.  Katherine Beattie is one athlete who impresses and excites.  Born 30 years ago in Los Angeles, CA, Katherine was born with spastic cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair part time for every day mobility as well as sport. Katherine competes in WCMX or motocross and has been involved with the sport for over 5 years now. She grew up in the mid-to-late nineties when everyone was a “skater kid” and into skateboarding and other action sports. She explains:  “When I was about 25, I decided to get back into skateboarding, this time on my knees. And a year later, I met Mike Box at a Life Rolls On event, got my first wheelchair and the rest is history.” Katherine has competed in two WCMX contests with Rise AdaptiveSports, including last year’s world championships, where she came in 8th and was the highest ranking woman.  “I have also competed yearly in the Life Rolls on Contest in Venice Beach, where I’ve competed in both skateboarding and WCMX.” 

Magnet Moments

By Patty Kunze
Writing as the Rollin RN encourages me to define topics that are medically related to spinal cord injuries but I was felt compelled to share another topic today… MAGNET MOMENTS. It’s a simple topic but one I wanted to share.  I find that our lives get so busy that we forget to stop and ruminate about the times we shared with family and friends. 
Recently I was rolling in our garage, when I stopped and gazed at the magnets on the front door of our 2nd refrigerator.  Our stainless steel fridge in the kitchen doesn’t allow magnets due to the specialized coating on the doors but I didn’t want to bag our magnets that have been collected for many years and toss in a cabinet or drawer.  So they found their way into the garage on the spare refrigerator door.  As I sat in my wheelchair looking at each magnet, they each brought back a vivid memory to mind.  Others share their children’s school grades, drawings done by tiny tots, graduation photos…it’s a wall of recognition for many.   It’s really mindboggling to ponder over your life just by looking at a door on the fridge.

One Woman's Personal Journey to Becoming a Disability Rights Activist

By Kara Aiello
"Miss Philadelphia," Holly Harrar
As a writer for mobileWOMEN.org, I have had the honor of shining a light on amazing women who live with disabilities and are changing the focus of how we view the disabled community.  Holly Harrar, who is this year’s Miss Philadelphia and does not live with a disability, has taken on the role of advocate for those with disabilities and will make this her platform, as she sets her sights on progressing in the contest. 

Born in Sellersville, PA, 22-year-old Holly Harrar lived the first five years of her life in Lansdale and then moved to Pottstown in 2000 and, starting in first grade, attended school at Pottsgrove.  Miss Harrar is sandwiched between two awesome siblings, older brother Brandon who is 26, and younger sister Morgan who is 14. She also grew up with two very supportive and loving parents, Tom and Debbie.  Currently a senior at Shippensburg University where she is studying Communication/Journalism and concentrating on Electronic Media, she has taken on an impressive minor which is Disability Studies and is looking forward to graduating this May.  Upon graduation, Miss Harrar plans to prepare for Miss Pennsylvania at the end of June and has hopes of soon obtaining a job in the field of reporting/journalism to round out her life and all that she has worked to achieve.

Slow Down, You’re Moving Too Fast

by Andrea Cronrod

“There is more to life than increasing its speed.”    Mahatma Gandhi

I used to fall regularly at my hurried pace when traversing gravel, horse pastures, and uneven dirt roads. A stumble in a field of long-stemmed grass cushioned my body more than a fall on compacted dirt or concrete. I rose, brushed myself off, and continued onward in Humpty Dumpty fashion. This forced me to be mindful every moment, every breath, and every step. Two of my guidance counselors along the way pleaded: “Slow down, lie down, and breathe in life, Andrea.” I might recline for a few moments only to jump up and scurry outside for a chore or to tend an animal.

Living in a physical whirlwind, I wouldn’t sit still for even a moment while driven to do, do, do. I depleted my reserves of energy on animals, businesses that never got off the ground and weren’t meant to be, and helping people who would have been better off learning to do it on their own. My small herd of horses required a tremendous output of energy to train, feed, exercise, and groom them. Strong and lean, I dug three foot deep holes and dropped an eight foot long telephone pole in each one for never-ending fence maintenance. The Bible instructs to respect your personal needs and rest when fatigued. Over worked mental and emotional faculties could not be ignored. Returning home exhausted after a day of business around the island of Kauai, I always had an extra reserve of energy to gulp an elixir of oxygen at the 3,500-foot elevation Waimea Canyon Lookout. After many years of push and strain in continual activity, little by little my strength and reserves depleted.
Waimea Canyon Lookout