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My Wish Bone Story

      Today, May 6th, is recognized all around the world as Wish Bone Day. Wish Bone Day is a day where people come together to bring awareness to a bone condition, Osteogenesis Imperfect. As this day approached, I remembered the traumatic way my parents found out I was diagnosed with this bone condition.       Imagine being a 3-year-old child watching your parents in a panic and being taken away from them. Imagine not fully understanding what was happening around you. All you know is that strangers are taking you from the people you know to be kind, loving, and compassionate. That was me; I was this 3-year-old child. In February 1998, not shortly after my 3rd birthday, my parents were exhausted from being up all night due to my constant crying and nonstop coughing. They assumed it was just a cold and tried everything they knew, but nothing helped. After speaking with my pediatrician, they decided to take me to Scottish Rite emergency room.  Upon arrival, the hospital staff did their r
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Finale: She Believed She Could but She Didn't Because It Wasn't Accessible

  Now, I am entering my senior year of college. After obtaining my driver’s license, it seemed like everything started falling into place! Once my family and I started reaching out to insurance companies inquiring about insurance policies, Voc Rehab told us that the required insurance was not the same as typical insurance. I couldn’t just be added onto my parents’ current policy. The policy had to be broken down and itemized to show that it would cover the $50,000 worth of modifications. Noone had ever explained this to us, this was another obstacle in my driving journey. I reached out a friend from high school, Aliyah, who worked at a local State Farm Insurance company. I explained to her what I needed and what Voc Rehab was asking for. It took a few weeks, but she was able to provide the coverage and itemized breakdown showing the policy covering the modifications. She was able to get me exactly what I needed to move forward with the process. Once I was approved for the loan and

Finale Part 1: She Believed She Could but Didn't Because It Wasn't Accessible

       I began preparing for my vehicle modification and assistive technology with Voc Rehab towards the end of my junior year of college. One of the first steps in this journey, was scheduling a driver’s evaluation and training from Shepherd’s Center in Atlanta. For this to take place, I needed a “prescription” from a doctor. Essentially, I needed a doctor to describe my medical condition and why it was necessary for me to go through the driver’s training. I was able to get that from my orthopedic doctor at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.                While I waited for the call from Shepherd’s Center to set up my driver’s evaluation and training, I began shopping around for vehicles and submitting inquiries online. We wrote letters to several local car dealerships asking them if they could donate a vehicle that I could use to modify. We didn’t hear back from the dealerships, which was very disappointing. This was another roadblock in my journey, or so I thought. A few months

Part 3: She Believed She Could but She Didn't Because It Wasn't Accessible

    Our initial meeting with Vocation Rehabilitation (Voc. Rehab.) was so exciting and by this time, I was nearing the end of my senior year! Along with offering driving and assistive technology, Voc Rehab had a major focus on educational support as well. The purpose of Voc Rehab’s services is to aid those who were either pursuing post-secondary education or entering the work force. I had already been accepted into Fort Valley State University, so I met this qualification and had to provide them with my acceptance letter.            As I began school at Fort Valley State, I provided Voc Rehab with my schedule and dorm information. We were told that because I lived on campus and wasn’t close to home, I didn’t need a car. That was far from the truth considering Fort Valley is 2 hours away from home. Each time I had a doctor’s appointment, my parents had to drive to me to get me there. That was a 2-hour ride, to and from, so it was very time taxing on our bodies and our vehicl

Part 2: She Believed She Could but She Didn't Because It Wasn't Accessible

  Some time had passed we went to the DMV to obtain my license. Due to that disappointing experience, I hadn’t done anything else pertaining to getting my license. I was still unsure on where to go from there. I still had the desire and dream to drive and was thrilled with the independence that driving would create for me. While I was approaching my senior year of high school, there was a program at my school offering work-based learning. This program allowed students to attend school part of the day and work the other part. I knew I wanted to participate in the program, but I knew finding a job I could physically do would be sort of difficult. In my job search, I was introduced to an organization, Parents Educating Parents and Professionals, PEPP. PEPP, Inc. The organization is a nonprofit 501c3, that was founded to work on civil rights issues for disability legislation, inclusion in community, the right to work, and educational advocacy for 26 years. I knew that based on its miss

Part 1: She Believed She Could but She Didn't Because it Wasn't Accessible

Today marks 4 years, to the date, that I signed the papers purchasing my modified van. It was it a joyous occasion for our entire household! This modified van was going to change all of our lives and make things a lot easier. While this was a proud day, the journey to get here was not easy. As I reflect on my journey, I can’t help but think about the others who may be experiencing the same difficultly and feel like there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Well, I am here to let you know there is. I always knew I wanted the independence and freedom of driving, I just didn’t know how to go about it. I would practice driving in my parents’ car, using my legs to operate the gas and brakes. With Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a bone condition, I knew driving this way would be a short-term remedy, because my legs would eventually tire out. When I was a junior in high school, like every teen in that stage of their life, I was excited about getting my driver’s permit. My parents and I had tal