I've Had A Disability My Entire Life
I'm Kristy. I was born with a benign spinal cord astrosytoma, a rare tumor that grew inside of my spinal cord. The doctor told my parents when they discovered the tumor that I had a better chance of winning the New York lottery than having the type of tumor in the location that I had it. I've had three tumor removal surgeries due to the tumor growing back several times and a lifetime supply of radiation treatment to kill it and prevent from growing any further. I've had 19 surgeries total, including rods inside my back, a spinal fusion for scoliosis, two leg lengthenings, and a foot reconstruction. Due to all of the surgeries and complications from the tumor, I was told I would never walk again. I've beaten the odds several times, and have learned to walk all over again starting from a wheelchair, to a walker, then to a cane and now just a full length KAFO leg brace. I am physically disabled on the left side of my body and walk with a limp.
Why I want to make a difference
Over the years I’ve been ignored and made fun of, and still today, adults make insensitive and rude comments because of their ignorance of disabilities. I’ve learned to embrace my differences and want to change the thinking of disabilities/disabled people.
Having Ability Is Stronger Than A Disability
My idea came from my husband’s lifted Dodge Ram that we call “The Beast”. I’ve always wanted a lifted truck of my own but wanted to build it for a purpose and use it for something great. I decided to build mine to help raise awareness for disabilities and call it disAbled Beauty. The “dis” in disabled is crossed out, which was very important to me to show that having ability is stronger than a disability. I want to show disabled children and adults that they can have a positive attitude and not be ashamed of their differences. Being disabled doesn’t need to stop you from doing big things (literally).
SEMA 2017 Truck Build
I went to KEG Media, a major graphic design company in the lifted truck industry, for a rendering of what my truck would look like when it was all finished. I shared my ideas and plans with Robbie with KEG and from there, it turned into a truck built for the 2017 SEMA Show. I hope to share my story and my truck with others to empower them to keep going and not let obstacles stand in their way. Just because you've had a lot of bad things happen in your life, doesn't mean you have to live a sad life.