OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES

Pushing Through Adversity

Spina Bifida (SB)

Natalie Kolander

I had always known I was different.

From as long ago as I can remember when I was three years old staring at my scars, terrified and confused as to why they were there, to now. What I didn't know then that I do now is that I was born with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus. What this means is that in utero, my back failed to close leaving my spinal chord and nerves exposed. This led me to being paralyzed from my knees down and having the Hydrocephalus, a build up of cerebrospinal fluid in my brain.

Throughout my life I've had many challenges I've had to face. School was a big one for me. It was terrifying going to a place where I knew I could be singled out just like that. The way I've dealt with my anxiety is wheelchair basketball. Through wheelchair basketball, I've made so many personal accomplishments, met my best friends, and come to terms with my disability. Being on a court with kids just like myself made me realize that it's okay to be different. Another place where I'm surrounded with people like me is Camp Spifida. It's a summer camp I go to every year and the amount of love and compassion I see there is just outstanding. Overall, I've learned that it's normal to go through change. It's hard, but necessary. Through my experiences I've been able to help countless people. And I only hope that I can be a role model to others.

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