For the majority of the time I have been a cancer survivor I lived with a feeling of incompleteness. That is 11 years…and the majority of it I had felt incomplete and unsatisfied with who I was as a person. Frankly, being a person of equal value didn’t seem like a relatable concept when it came to how I visibly stood out in a crowd. By having an artificial limb on my right leg after battling cancer it seemed unlikely that I would ever come to know how to live life to the fullest when I didn’t have the bodily function, or the image to do as most any other person can. However, through stages in my life and amazing support systems I continue to learn everyday that I am a Person First! And this person deserves and is entitled to living life to the fullest just as much as any!
This summer I have been blessed to receive an internship with the American Association of People with Disabilities. I was not sure what to expect, but what I have been receiving everyday opens my perceptions and exposes me to opportunities I never knew about. The benefits of being a part of an association, such as the AAPD, have touched me on a professional and personal level. All I want to do is share with others! The passion inside me that loves diversity and respects individuality of people yearns to learn how I can better advocate for those I represent.
However, I could not end this blog today without talking about the amazing people in Washington D.C. This is definitely a place of networking and constantly meeting new people. However, what I was not aware of was exactly how much I would enjoy the company of each person I have met. The stories everyone has of their lives are amazing and inspiring. Every person has a story and each time they’re shared we can truly take something valuable away from each other. If ever given the opportunity to do an internship, and especially an internship in DC you should take it! This will be a place that truly shows me the meaning of having respect for myself and being a Person First above being a disabled person.