Not long ago, I featured two Ohio women who encouraged each other and became friends after reading this column. What they have done helping each other has spurred me on to ponder what more I could do for readers.
When I began writing in 2002, the purpose of this weekly column was to feature the real-life experiences of people with disabilities, and through it, provide awareness, information, and encouragement.
To that end, and primarily because of the Ohio women, I began last week a Facebook page to offer under one roof yet more awareness, information, and encouragement. On my page, I am posting videos about disability, links to disability-related news items, and providing the beginning framework of a forum for people with disabilities. You can comment and you can discuss. It’s your page.
I envision readers and editors posting disability-related news links from their hometown newspaper’s website to share. Suddenly, what happens regarding a person with a disability in Indiana, New York, California, or Mississippi, for example, can be read by readers all over.
And through this Facebook page, you can share your own personal experiences involving disability and make friends and share knowledge, similar to what the Ohio women did. You can also give me leads on people with disabilities to write about.
It would give me joy to learn of a reader with a disability in Florida, for example, making connections and drawing strength from a West Virginia reader. Or one from New Mexico able to improve their child’s life because of help from a reader in Illinois. And, if you are willing, I would enjoy sharing the experiences of some of you through this weekly column appearing in your local newspaper.
You can find my page by searching Facebook for “Disabilities By Daniel J. Vance.”
Over the years, I’ve learned all too well that most people with disabilities face isolation. Although never able to surpass in quality seeing someone face-to-face, connecting with others over the Internet sure beats isolation. Often, caregivers face isolation, too.
As I’ve shared at least three times over the years, my family was suddenly introduced to the world of disability in 1995 when our daughter was born with spina bifida. I remember feeling isolated. I had heard of spina bifida, but hadn’t known anyone with it. A generous dose of encouragement and information then would have helped tremendously.