Submitted by Sherry Longcor, Reintegration Specialist
During my journey toward self-determination I have discovered many important things. Throughout a large part of my life, I struggled and didn’t understand why until I looked deeper into who I am at the core of my being. Oddly enough, the catalyst that made me search the depths of my soul came after a disabling illness. In 2005, I was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor. Medical treatment for this tumor left me unable to walk, barely able to speak, and with the left half of my face paralyzed. I realized then a strength and determination that I had not previously realized I had.
Many of the parts of my history are painful to recall. My life was not filled with opportunity, encouragement, or guidance but, somewhere inside I always longed for something better. I realized after my disabling illness that each person carries unique talents and gifts to share with our society when assessable opportunities, support, and skilled guidance are available. I became very aware of the need to find something wonderful and unique inside of my soul that I could share with society. I realized the impact of my disability would force me to create a new path – a path that would highlight my abilities and minimize my disability. My new path included returning to school and seeking a degree in a field where I might help others along their journey of self-determination.
Here at PACE, our staff is focused on assisting people with disabilities to have lives that are self-directed with the focus on each person’s distinct gifts and talents. Each of us can use the strength of self-awareness that we gain while dealing with a disability and ultimately fulfill the goal of having a self-determined life.
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