As human beings, we tend to make excuses when it’s time to ‘put in the work’. Even when the circumstances are in our favour, we procrastinate or find reasons not to act. However, some people challenge the odds and turn tough situations to their benefit. They subsequently redefine success every day. There is an umpteen number of stories about people who were born with disabilities, fell victim to circumstances or faced an accident, but that didn’t stop them from making a mark in their respective fields and motivating people around the world. Their stories are touching, encouraging and push me to redefine my limits.
No one can begin to understand the agony of a disabled person. It requires an enormous amount of internal strength to be able to cope with life graciously. Unfortunately, some are constantly reminded of their disability; however, being fighters, they push to fulfil their dreams. An example of such a person is Miss Jenise Reece, a third-year student at the University of the West Indies, Mona.
Disability is not an obstacle to success.Stephen Hawkins
At just two years old, doctors diagnosed Jenise with mild cerebral palsy, which affects her left side. Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of disorders that affect movement and muscle tone or posture. It’s caused by damage that occurs to the immature brain as it develops, most often before birth. Because of how CP affects the brain, a person might not be able to walk, talk, eat, or move the way most people do.
While appearing ‘normal’ to persons who don’t pay enough attention, she struggles with physical movements. Some of the struggles she faces include moving slower than others, typing slowly with one hand and restricted movement:
‘I am aware that I am different from others, but it’s okay, I have accepted it’. Jenise realised this difference early as she couldn’t do the things others could. She had problems keeping up with other children in subjects such as Physical Education and required additional time to complete items. Being the warrior she is, Jenise is determined to be successful and impactful. Below, she explains what keeps her motivated:
Determination, Dedication and Discipline
It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop. Holding that to heart, Jenise has consistently carried her flame. Consequently, never letting obstacles get in the way of achieving her academic dreams. In leaving high school, Jenise graduated with a total of 16 CSEC and CAPE subjects. Currently, she is pursuing a major in Integrated Marketing Communication and a minor in Spanish.
Jenise credits her success to God and the reliable support system she has in her family, friends and persons who are aware of her condition. Simple things such as accompanying her when she travels to ensuring she gets ample time to complete tasks have pushed her closer to her destination:
Her ability to overcome and persevere has inspired the people around her. She has worked twice as hard to get to where she is today. Her ultimate goal is to ensure that she has applied the best of herself to whatever task she has at hand.
The Disabled Community
She is an advocate for the disabled community and particularly those who have CP. Discrimination against and exclusion of the disabled are two things which break her heart. She raises awareness of her condition and others by educating people. Jenise hopes for more assistance for the disabled communities.
Jenise represents another great reminder for us to persevere. Giving up hope and your dreams is easy. With inspiration and dedication, we all can keep our hope alive. Inspiring stories can do just that: keep us hopeful and motivated. Share these stories and share your own stories to inspire others and keep moving forward. At GNJ, we would love to hear what inspires you so please leave your inspiration in the comments. Let’s inspire each other!