Robyn Short from the Toronto Rehab Foundation has contacted me and told me about a young woman called Jessica Coriat who has Cerebral Palsy. I was again very touched by her story and would like to share it with you all.
My name is Jessica Coriat. I am 23 years old and I was born with Cerebral Palsy. Growing up, I was constantly in pain and had become accustomed to my body often not doing what I wanted. Despite several orthopaedic surgeries and ongoing care, I live with limited mobility. I adapted using special walking devices, but was still determined to improve.
Five years ago I found the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and the LIFESpan Program. My quality of life began to vastly improve. With a new form of therapy and lots of positive encouragement, my doctors knew I would walk in a short period of time. Three weeks into my new therapy, I was able to move my legs with less pain. That was a remarkable moment I will never forget.
I felt so inspired by my health-care team at Toronto Rehab that I chose to volunteer there three days a week. I want to support families, staff and patients with my knowledge. I know what they are going through and I encourage them to actively engage in their communities. I spend my time helping patients with walkers or electric chairs move to and from therapy; I feed them and help them reacquaint themselves with everyday activities like how to use utensils or how to cook their own meals.
I think my insight is especially meaningful because I know what it is like to be there and I understand the impact of lifelong disability. I want others to know there is always hope. They can beat the odds; I am living proof. People should take care when interacting with individuals living with disability. Be sensitive. It is extremely important for society to realize that individuals living with disability have feelings just like everyone else and we want to contribute our unique talents. I choose to share my obstacles and triumphs to help others who are going through a similar journey.
It’s important to me to advocate on behalf of people living with disability. I want to challenge preconceived notions and perceptions. I encourage everyone to look at people for their personality and what they can do, not their disability. Don’t look at the assistive device. Look past it to see the person.
I have recently been acknowledged as a difference maker in the preliminary round of the Scotiabank Game Changer competition and was able to attend the Hamilton Tiger-Cats game on September 7, where I was presented with an award at half time. I am now eligible for the top Game Changer award, including a $25,000 charitable donation and a trip for me and a guest to the 101st Grey Cup in Regina.
I am so honoured to have been recognized with this award. It humbles me to know that the work I am doing for others is making a difference. Please help me win the $25,000 charitable donation for the Toronto Rehab Foundation, to enable superior care for people like me. I never thought my life could change the way it has, thanks to Toronto Rehab. Starting September 23, please vote daily at the link below to help me help others and to enable Toronto Rehab to change lives. I thank you graciously for your consideration.
“It will only take one moment to register, but please take time to cast your vote. Every vote for Jessica counts.”
Many thanks… Jessica Coriat