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December 2003

"Mr. Reeve"

I’m sitting in front of my computer typing theses words while the much needed rain is coming down while thinking about an article I had recently read regarding Christopher Reeve. I remember his claim “I’m gonna walk by the time I’m fifty.” Fifty came and went and his walking hadn’t happened. OK, he can walk in a pool of water with weighted legs and total assistance. That is a start.

I complete 3-4 miles on my Ergys 2 bike twice a week. When I close my eyes I picture myself on my blue 10 speed bicycle that I rode throughout Kirkwood, Missouri, my home town. I really miss that bike. So if a cure comes Chris and I will have bodies with developed muscles.

In the mean time, I’m not waiting to walk.I don’t need to be fixed. If paralyzed people walk again, fantastic! If we don’t- life goes on as is. Mr. Reeve mourns every morning for a short while then he gets on with his day. It’s my personal opinion that time has shown Chris that while the push to walk again is still there he has found ways to live a productive life. Mind you that this man does not see himself as whole again until he walks.

I’m not dissing Chris because we all cope differently. I used to be really mad at him because my stance has always been acceptance. But I can move my arms and breathe on my own. Chris is playing a whole different ball game from mine. So who am I to judge?

Whenever I get really bummed out about my disability I remember a quad I met with my same injury level (C5, C-6) AND….. she was blind. Damn the bad luck! The day I met her I thought to myself, “Why am I complaining?” She helped me appreciate the good in life and to take the bad with a grain of salt. Where ever you are in life you’re going to find people who have more than you and a lot of people who have less.

The world is full of people who are living lives that, to me, would seem unbearable.Young girls in Africa are being sold and forced into a life of prostitution and young boys are kidnapped and forced to fight a war they don’t want to. So if you have a roof over your head, are on social security, receive attendant care though different agencies, get food stamps, receive help with your housing and have Medicare or Medicaid, please be grateful.

I wish Mr. Reeve the best of luck in pursuing his ability to walk again.In the mean time, I’ll take what I’ve been given and make the most of it.

Katie Rodriguez Banister works with audiences to embrace diversity
through motivational speaking and disability education.

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