I met with Stephanie at the Holyrood Swim Park (Holy Cross Park), where she works during the Summer. She showed me around the park, which has been beautifully upgraded since I was there last. It has accessible boardwalks and a lovely area for picnics, in addition to the natural waterfall, nature trails and swimming pools.
Stephanie and I had a great chat while we explored the area. Here is what Stephanie wanted to share, in her own words:
To befriend a disabled person is one of the most special friendships in life. We are all different, but share one commonality: we want to be accepted for who we are rather than looked upon negatively for our limitations.
In this entry, I will offer insight and hope through my experiences. My name is Stephanie Dunphy, and I live with Cerebral Palsy - a neurological condition which affects my muscle movement in both upper and lower limbs. With the help of a Baclofen Pump, I can now do many incredible things such as writing, walking and standing up to perform daily tasks.
Though I have faced hardship in my life, I have many goals (though some may be unrealistic ones). I want more than anything to become a nurse and to help those with different medical conditions, but unfortunately my physical limitations prevent this. As much as I wish it could be possible, I needed to search for other careers that would be suitable. Another dream of mine would be physiotherapy, which is again unrealistic. Not being able to pursue the career I wanted is somewhat frustrating and sad at the same time.
I now have found my true passion in educating people about the difficulties that are faced by people with disabilities, and turning the negativity into a positive experience. I would like to eventually be a disability advocate, educator and businessperson.
Like everyone else, disabled people have feelings and unique interests. I am a Big Bang Theory fan (my favourite character is Amy!). I love shopping, spending time with my dog, hanging out with my family and friends, and volunteering. My time volunteering with the disabled population has given me the passion to become an advocate, as I feel I have a better understanding of some of the issues that are important. I have been trying to get improved services to this area, such as accessible transportation, to make accessibility easier for those with mobility issues.
Friendships and relationships are important to all individuals, including people with disabilities. Many of my friends are also disabled and I share a special bond with a disabled guy. I am so lucky to have many influential people around me.
My one dream in life is to go to Florida, and see all the wonderful sights there. Another dream would be to be able to drive wherever I wanted!
I hope that my entry is insightful and encourages others to follow their dreams no matter how big or how small."
Stephanie, it was a pleasure meeting you! Thanks so much for wanting to share a little about yourself. I wish you all the best, and I know you will make a wonderful advocate for the disability community. I look forward to having you volunteer with us at the Cerebral Palsy Association of NL!