DAILY LIVING & MOBILITY

Running With Your Heart

Cerebral Palsy (CP)

Alex Lytwyn

The world would be a much better place, if people realized that you win more when you lose. I recently ran in an election that we had in our municipality. I myself didn’t earn a seat on council, but my soul won. When out campaigning the situation wasn’t easy. Little did I know that running in this election would shine a light on my inner being? When it comes to politics, I’m very passionate. It’s not my political views that are misunderstood, it’s me. Showing up at someone’s door asking for support is one of the hardest things I will ever do. Not because I was worried about them voting for me, it was showing people that I have a brain and was not invisible. When people saw me coming to their door, they saw that there was a person with me. They would knock on the door and take notes. It was up to me to break the stigmatism of “Awww, that’s nice Alex is running”, and show people that my thought process and passion for the community was in full force.

When talking to people during my campaign, there were so many things at play. My voice and powerchair are first things that people notice. I have to try my very best to speak clearly. This is not easy, especially when talking to people who don’t know me that well. As soon as I speak, people either ignore me or listen to me. This puts a lot of pressure on me to speak well. People see me before they hear me. Seeing my powerchair automatically makes people have the classic stereotype of “all people in powerchairs are dumb.” Naturally, if you do not understand somebody you look for a scapegoat. This was the person who was with me. Even though I would be talking directly to the individual, their eyes would tend to drift to my helper.

Years ago, I would never have gone out to campaign. Add to that, dealing with the elements of fall weather and talking to strangers. It was a nerve wracking but eye opening few months. Life has taught me that “nothing good comes easy” & in order for me to get anywhere in life, I’ll have keep pushing for my voice not to be heard, but more importantly understood. My Cerebral Palsy created obstacles for me during the campaign, at the same time showing me how much of a positive influence it can be. Cerebral Palsy can push a person sideways. When this occurs, I’m the only person that can get my life back on even keel. Looking at the word “disability”, the ability part of the word is located at the end. This could take a lifetime, but we have to find out who we are. After this is done, our true ability can shine through.

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