“I’m convinced you can’t really be an advocate until you have personally felt the sting of an unreasonable no, the rejection of a perfectly rational argument with a dismissive ’So what,’ and have learned first-hand that the issue is power – power someone has that you do not.”

Gary Wunder

lawyer-leader-advocate-visually impaired

This quote has resonated a lot with me.

It’s what motivates me to tell my story with Forrest Stump, to share our film 1500 Miles, and show firsthand the unreasonable no’s and the dismissed rational arguments.

There have been so many moments I’ve pleaded my case to able-bodied individuals who have both of their legs:

I just want to run.

I want to be free to move.

I want to be an athlete.

I want to be like everyone else.

And they’ve easily passed me aside, saying “it’s too expensive” or “it’s not medically necessary” or “unfortunately, that’s how it is” or “do we really owe it to kids to help them run again?”.

As they turn me down, I can’t help but stare at their two legs.

Legs they didn’t have to fight for or earn. Legs that don’t leave them crippled with debt. Legs that provide their lives with an enormous amount of value they’ve never stopped to measure. Legs they have taken for granted since birth.

To deny something for someone that you have never had to fight or work for to earn, and yet provides you an enormous amount of value and opportunity…That’s #privilege.

I’m glad there is a “business case” for prostheses and the argument can be made why prostheses save money. But I also wish people could see the “human case.” To me, that means more.

I hope one day our society can become more compassionate and empathetic to understand the struggles people without privilege face, and use that knowledge to guide decision making. You don’t need to walk a mile in my shoes to understand; you need to open your heart to being more compassionate.