For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Jeremiah 29:11

When one discovers that they have a disability, the usual course of action is to keep others out, to shy away from the world. You question why this happened or what did I do to deserve this? You wonder what's in it for me or even why me?

Have you ever thought "why not me?"

Each one of us is born with unique abilities. Hope, an eighteen year-old young lady who was born with Spina Bifida, and like any other teen age girl she has dreams, but the world has plans otherwise. High school students enjoy going to their proms. The search for the perfect dress and heels is one of the highlights of this event. When you're born with a disability that affects your ability to walk, this event is not a highlight, but often a nightmare. Hope wasn't going to have any of that.

Hope set out to have a great prom. She needed high heels, shoes that she had been told she couldn't wear because of her need for leg braces. Her idea is changing the way girls with Spina Bifida now may view the prom or any other event where a woman may wear high heels. Hope developed Helper Heels, a way for those who have leg braces may be able to wear high-healed shoes.

Hope has shown others that we are all the same on the inside. We all have dreams and desires. We can all do great things.

I had the pleasure of meeting Hope a few weeks back at an event where she was promoting her CamoGurl.com web site. She has created this site for teenage girls with Spina Bifida to find real answers about their disabilities and their bodies. She also uses it as a tool to generate income for obtaining a patent on her Helper Heels. We were amazed by her outlook on life and the veracity she exhibits in living her life. She used the abilities she was born with to change her world and by this change she will change the world for others.

As we celebrated Thanksgiving, I pondered this encounter. I wondered what I had to be thankful for this year knowing the medical issues that I now face. When I look back, a year ago I did not know what it was we were facing other than I was not well, confined to a wheelchair when out in public, and using walking sticks to get around in private. Six short weeks later Jean and I would find out.

I am thankful that God has provided a plan through the diagnosis of Parkinson's disease. I know as a teacher part of my role is to educate others. I also know I have to be an advocate for myself and others. I know I have a future and a hope.