One would think I would jump for joy once I found others on a similar path who shared a similar vision. This was simply not the case; I am human. I remember the first time I came across a fellow blogger, business owner, and person with a disability. I allowed myself without even knowing to get jealous. I instantly stopped the feelings that started building to remind myself that it isn’t about competing. It isn’t about who did it first, who is doing what, or who is doing it better; it’s about community.
The sense of strength, passion, fight, and advocacy a community brings to the table. This community works towards the important goals of breaking down barriers, dismissing the misconceptions, and working towards improving the lives of people with disabilities.
This month, I bring you a collection of posts dedicated to my fellow bloggers, business owners, an advocates who all have adopted the same philosophy (in their own words) “Dismissing the dis in disability: allowing the ability to shine”. That’s right in some form or another they have felt the pain, the struggle, the joy, and the passion that comes from being a person with a disability or a parent of child with a disability.
I hope you find each of their stories uplifting and encouraging. I know I have enjoyed getting to know each them via written communications, social media platforms, and some a Skype call. My hope by highlighting each of these individuals you will gain new knowledge and a better understanding of life with a disability.
First up, Ben.
I have no idea where I want to began when talking about Ben. You see Ben is a one of a kind person who began his journey to being "More Than My Disability" at an early age with Spastic Cerebral Palsy. In Ben's words, "Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, I always had visions of achieving great things, things that would impact millions of people around the world."
Ben, decided to show people who tried to bring him down by teasing and bullying him that you can do anything you want, if you have the right mindset. Despite his disability he decided to become an athlete. Ben's story is so powerful and so moving that he was featured in a Gatorade--Win From Within video that has been watched over a million times (I watched it at least 5 times).
Ben is currently a student at Northampton Community College with goals of earning his associates degree in Communications. He wants to continue his education until he receives his doctoral degree in Communication. His goal is to become a motivational speaker that continues to inspires people all over the world.
In addition to his Gatorade video, Ben was invited to attend the Ravens training Camp, where he gave a speech to the team last year. This summer he spoke at the 2015 Beyond Sports United and just about a week ago he spoke at the New York Giants training camp. You Rock Ben!
You see, like me, Ben was teased and bullied for being different. Ben told me, "But's that's why I want to live a life devoted to making individuals going through any kind of adversity feel like they are not alone."
Ben is a bright example of why I have decided to adopt the mission of community over competition. At the end of the day we all want the same thing; to make the world a better place.
To learn more about Ben and his journey I encourage you to follow his very motivational social media platforms which I have linked here: