Walk a Mile in Our Shoes


So I have a new friend to thank for this entry. Like me, Laura too has a passion for partnering with people that have disabilities to ensure that their rights and freedoms are protected. In fact, she is just in the process of finishing off her law degree. And it seems like we’re not the only ones. Take the recent article in the Los Angeles Times for example. It features the story of Carrie Ann Lucas. She is a lawyer as well, but unlike most, she has walked a mile in our shoes and knows first-hand the difficulties of having a disability. I have included a brief summary of the article according to what I thought was most important. For further information, see the citation at the end of the article. I was amazed by Carrie’s story and I think you will be too. Thanks Laura for passing the story along.

Lucas began developing bone tumors and experienced increasing muscle pain as a young student at Washington State. Unable to find the root cause of these symptoms, she continued her life and graduated with a degree in sports medicine. After that, she tried seminary. But in the long run, she decided it wasn’t the right career for her. She was later diagnosed with a rare degenerative disease called central core disorder. As a result, she ended up in a wheelchair and eventually lost her hearing.

When a family crisis threatened to tear her immediate family apart, she was prepared to do anything to keep them together. This included becoming a foster parent to her niece Heather when she was taken away from her half brother. Social was doubtful this was possible at the beginning, making several trips over to the house and forcing Lucas to prove herself by making sure she was capable of putting Heather’s wheel chair into a rented van. Heather herself is unable to walk or talk too.

This experience was so life-changing; she decided to try again. This time, attempting to adopt a seven-year-old girl who was also confined to a wheelchair. After just 10 months of fostering, the girl’s aunt and uncle stepped up to adopt the child. She was devastated. During this process, Lucas worked as a legal assistant for Cross-Disability Coalition; this law firm specializes in trying to keep parents with disabilities together with their kids.

At that point, Lucas decided to return to college. This time for a law degree. Unfortunately, her vision began to fail making this much more difficult then she anticipated. As a result, she had to add the course of braille among her many important college courses. Graduating in 2005, Lucas is now ” legally blind, but is able to scan documents and read lips at a very close range”.

Why does she do this?

This was my favorite quote of the article and I think it says it best.

“We [the coalition ] realized if that’s happening to us, who’re really connected, who know our stuff, are professionals with advanced degrees, what’s happening to other people?”

The article goes on and on about several specific cases. I may refer back to this on Friday. Who knows? But I think I’m going to do something special tomorrow.

See you then

Riccardi, Nicholas. “Disabled woman is able ally for parents.” (Los Angeles) latimes.com 5 March 2007.13 March 2007
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-lucas5mar05,1,828207.story? page=1&ctrack=1&cset=true&coll=la-headlines-nation

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