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Daniel J. Vance is a licensed professional counselor and national certified counselor from Vernon Center, Minn. His weekly newspaper column Disabilities has been published in more than 260 newspapers. The archives date back to 2006 and many remain relevant and inspirational.

Palmer Turned TBI Into Asset

Mark Palmer of Sacramento, California, read my column a couple weeks ago concerning a man who experienced a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Palmer emailed to tell his own TBI story.

Dermatomyositis: Woman Battles Weakness, Rash

In 1993, and only two weeks after having given birth to her second child, Becki Lanser of Cary, North Carolina, was experiencing severe muscle weakness and fatigue.

Eric Duquette: Part 1

Judy Duquette of Smithfield, Rhode Island, clearly remembers when in 1993 her then 18-month-old son began changing

Battling Cyclothymia

Last week, I began sharing the story of "Brenda" and "Christine," mother and daughter, who read one of the five newspapers publishing this column in western Ohio. I have masked their identities to protect Christine, who has been diagnosed with cyclothymia

Alzheimer’s, a first person account

For ten years until his father's death in 2009, Gary LeBlanc was faithfully there as his father fought through the ups and downs of having Alzheimer's disease. LeBlanc's ensuing book about his experience has helped thousands of people navigate tough times. It's titled Staying Afloat in a Sea of Forgetfulness.

They Couldn’t Fix It

Often, difficult trials can work out for a person's good. Take 44-year-old Dr. John Shepherd of Omaha, Nebraska, for example.

Double Leg Amputee Completes Marathon

Defying his prognosis, he would appear on The Oprah Winfrey Show, graduate from Foran High School, walk forward with prosthetics to receive his high school diploma, and in 2009

Former Homeless Man Finds Stability

"At one time in the mid-'80s, I was homeless, destitute, and disengaged from family. I was going from one person's home to another to live. Finally, I moved into a homeless shelter."

Spina Bifida

Stacy Picard of Knoxville, Iowa, thought having a fifth child would be easy. “The first couple children you worry about something going wrong, but after that you don't even think about the possibility of a disability,” said 30-year-old Picard in a telephone interview.


It was only three years ago when Lisa Adams of Grove City, Ohio, first learned her then four-year-old daughter Eden had neuroblastoma. A National Institutes of Health website defines it as “a malignant (cancerous) tumor that develops from nerve tissue” and occurs in infants and children.

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