My name is Michael (IG: michaelkluba.therapy). First and foremost, Ryan’s one of my best friends, but he’s also my cousin. We’re the same age, and we started kindergarten together and graduated high school together. I grew up spending most of my time with Ryan. This was both, as one of his closest friends and one of his primary caregivers, but always friend first.
We got in trouble in class in elementary school for making noise, which is ironic to me because Ryan’s non-verbal 😆. We walked and rolled the hills of our small hometown together, went on family vacations to Vegas and Florida, started the Walk for Cerebral Palsy in our home community, played video games, and tried to live normal child/adolescent lives, really.
Ryan also requires assistance with his daily living too, so there were trips to specialists in Winnipeg, bags upon bags of equipment, feeding tubes and puke buckets, medications, and so forth. Actually, just recently we got together and laughed at the time in junior high Ryan projectile vomited in my face. It’s funny now, but it definitely wasn’t at the time.
Ryan now lives in his own place in a different community with 24/7 care, and I am in another city. One thing I don’t speak of often is how difficult it was for me to move away at 18-years-old. This was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done because it meant leaving Ryan.
I can’t explain the depth and impact of this relationship in one story, but the reason I posted this is that Ryan’s the number one inspiration behind why I do what I do. I have many other individuals, who have inspired my path, but Ryan makes the top of the list. I’m known for my ability to read people, my humor, my compassion, and my empathy, and much of this has been inspired - and learned from - Ryan.