How many of you watched The Facts of Life? One of my favorite characters (not a regular, but a repeat guest) was Blair's cousin Geri, played by Geri Jewell who has cerebral palsy.
Geri was the first ever disabled person to have a regular spot on a primetime show. And that's one of the main reasons I remember her. I would watch her on TFoL, struggling to enunciate her lines and handle the physical demands acting makes on the body.
Watching her really made me realize I could do anything I wanted to do. Here was a woman who's body would not always listen to her commands, and she was doing something as strenuous as I know acting to be. How could I, who had complete control of my body, ever complain that I couldn't do something?
She was an inspiration to me, filling me with a "never quit" attitude and the courage to follow it up. It was because of Geri Jewell that I ended up swimming the 100 meter butterfly during high school. Even though my coach told me not to bother trying to learn it since it takes two full arms.
I could list a hundred other incidents like that, in which the memory of this woman's strength and courage helped get me through, but you'd probably get a bit bored :) But she is a testament to what a person can do if they want it badly enough, no matter what limitations they may have.
For those who do not know what cerebral palsy is, here is the definition: Cerebral palsy is a term used to describe a group of chronic conditions affecting body movements and muscle coordination. It is caused by damage to one or more specific areas of the brain, usually occurring during fetal development or infancy. It also can occur before, during or shortly following birth.