The Truth Is…People with Disabilities Face Obstacles Everyday

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The truth is when I woke up on Wednesday morning, the last thing I imagined I would do was push an elephant up a hill shortly after noon that same day. This story sounds funny when put like that, but in all reality it was a fairly straining experience both physically and emotionally.

My friend Mikelle and I had been having coffee at our local coffee house, Pablo’s; it had been uneventful morning. We had our coffee, talked with friends and were headed back to her house. As we were walking to her condo, we came upon a large strip of ice out front of a local establishment, Lime. They had failed to remove the snow from their sidewalk and thus, we had to cross it.

Where the story takes a twist is that my friend Mikelle is in a wheel chair and the batteries were slowly dying. As you can imagine traversing Denver in a wheelchair can be a chore, add in snow and the whole experience becomes much harder.

While I began pushing Mikelle’s 300 pound power wheelchair across the icy sidewalk—the fun had only begun. Now we had the pleasure of traversing up two blocks of steep incline. I began pushing the red wheelchair with its fiery passenger up the sidewalk, only to be forced to move into the street—either from buckled sidewalks or from the nefarious snow-ice combo again. This sidewalk road swap continued for the full two blocks, finally coming to rest outside of her condo building; both of us upset, sweaty and annoyed.

This experience of pushing Mikelle and her wheelchair up a hill was truly an eye opener for me. I have known Mikelle for 8 years.  But, up until that moment on the sidewalk, I had never understood the fight that she goes through every day, just to live her life. Every day she has to get up and push an elephant up a hill. Every day, more often than not, there is some form of obstacle her path.

About Katherine Carol

Special needs & community expert, speaker, co-author of The Tango of Publishing and Shining Beautiful, with Mikelle Learned, book coach, mom, and community builder.

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