Every story needs a good dose of adversity and a compelling character to rise above it. I don’t find myself very compelling, but I’ve done my share of trying to overcome the obstacles that have come my way.
When I was ten months old, I was diagnosed with Athetoid Cerebral Palsy, a neurological disorder. This would go on to affect my motor skills and balance. Even at that young age, though, my doctor could see what kind of person I was, as he told my parents, “She’s a fighter! You don’t have to worry about her.” Never have any truer words been spoken.
Yes, a fighter I was, as my older sister, whom I’d fearlessly wrestle to the ground, can tell you! As the doctor had predicted, that attitude was one of the things that propelled me to where I am today. I wasn’t going to sit in a wheelchair and watch the world go by…and my family would’ve never let me try!
My parents treated me just like my sister. My mom took us bowling together, and my dad even taught me how to play baseball and football—or a version thereof! My disability was merely a word I heard in therapy and at doctors’ appointments.
Of course, being handicapped came with its obstacles, as hard as my parents tried to help me to overlook them. Since I had no mental limitations, I went to mainstream school, where I was an honors student. Nonetheless, my physical challenges stood in the way of a typical childhood, and my inability to do the things my peers could do made for a few rough years.
When I moved into junior high school, my life, thankfully, took a positive turn. The head football coach at my school had heard about me from my dad—who also worked there—and he used my resilience as an example for his players. That moved some of them to want to get to know me and take me under their wing. In 2004, I began walking independently, and they were all behind me, encouraging me to make progress and even having me lead them onto the field for their last game that year. In many ways, those players gave me the jumpstart I needed to go into adulthood with confidence, and their support has inspired my writing.
Coach Stoll impacted my life in more ways than helping me physically. He became a father figure to me and helped me walk across the stage to accept my diploma when I graduated. Our bond has inspired me creatively, too, as I based the main character’s father off of him in my novel, Forgetting My Way Back to You. He even lent his voice to the story’s book trailer.
From a young age, I wanted to become an author, but since I can only type with one hand, I didn’t know if I could meet such a goal. Like every aspiring author, my professional pursuits required the same resilience my physical ones did, but it too paid off. My debut novel, Husband in Hiding, was accepted for publication in 2015, followed by Forgetting My Way Back to You in 2018. Most recently, my persistence netted me two contracts from The Wild Rose Press for Brother of Interest and Wrong Line, Right Connection, both released in 2022.
My circumstances may have been a bit more difficult than some people’s, but I’ve tried to make the most of them and lead as full of a life as I can. I’ve had my dark days, but with the love and support from my family and friends, along with my faith, I’ve battled through them, as the fighter that I am.
Updated December 2022