This I Believe

Emily - Vermillion, South Dakota
Entered on November 13, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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When I met my friend, Megan, I was only four years old and was too young to notice the fact she was different because she had cerebral palsy and was in a wheelchair. Throughout elementary school I stuck by her side making sure she was involved in everything including birthday parties or school skating parties. Megan can only say yes or no but can communicate well through the use of her expressions. We have known each other long enough to understand each other and I love her to death. As we have grown up, Megan has had to increase her medication for seizures and has had a feeding tube placed in her stomach but I am still right by her side through thick and thin. It was not always easy going out of my way all the time for Megan but looking back on it I would not change that experience for anything. I do not see what I do for Megan as a volunteer project; Megan has taught me a lot about responsibility and motivation. Together Megan and I have taught many people about accepting others with disabilities and seeing who they really are. Megan is just stuck in a body that does not work and is dying to get out so she can live a normal life. I try to stress to people to look at the individual, not the disability. Since she is stuck in neutral, I’m by her side giving her a life that every girl dreams of. I take her shopping, to movies and have sleepovers with her. When her mom leaves for a weekend getaway I stay with Megan and treat her like a princess. After I give her a shower I put lotion on her legs and we listen to music. I know all the tricks to get a huge smile across Megan’s face and get a laugh out of her. I know how to give her her medications and insert a new tube if it happens to fall out of her stomach. Now that I am in college, I do not see Megan everyday but I try to get home every other weekend to take Megan out for the day. Growing up and being so close to Megan has helped me bring out my core beliefs about people with disabilities. I believe people with disabilities should participate in our society as much as possible. Introducing people to someone with a disability really opens their eyes to the difficulties these people experience and helps others see life a little differently. Just because someone cannot perform to the full extent like most people does not mean that they deserve exclusion or isolation from the rest of the society. Megan has changed my life in a positive way by giving me a lasting friendship that I will treasure forever. In addition to her friendship, she has helped me become more accepting of disabilities and become a better person in everything I do.