Having a disability does not prevent a person from living a normal life or working a conventional job. The story of David Davey in my book Beyond Barriers just shows that physical impediments are not really a hindrance to someone who is determined to make a decent living, contribute positively to society, and live a rewarding life.

Dave’s disability didn’t stop him from having a purpose in life. While attending Wayne State University (WSU), a conversation with a fellow polio survivor led him to his purpose, that is, to improve the health and wellbeing of people with disabilities. Knowing he is in control of his destiny, Dave took it upon himself to make life easier for individuals with handicaps and help them have the opportunity to make a decent living. Years later, he would arrive in a position to advocate for the integration of people with disabilities in the workplace.

Of course, Dave knew adjusting to life with a disability could be a difficult transition. However, he had acknowledged the fact that he could never go back in time to his healthier self or wish away his limitations. He knew he could only change the way he thinks about and cope with his disability. He recognized that there are many ways of improving one’s independence, outlook, and sense of empowerment (or personal control over one’s circumstance).

Dave saw past the wheelchair. He saw a world of opportunities in front of him. He saw his disability as an opportunity to serve. Instead of becoming a burden to his family and community, he chose to serve. Despite having lost the strength of his legs (he was struck with polio at the age of 12), he climbed to higher lengths. He relied on his inner strength, passion, and perseverance to reach beyond his limitations. No obstacle is too big for Dave, a polio survivor and victor, to overcome. He was just a man with a purpose and on a mission to prove his disability never held him back.  

Dave’s story should inspire other people with disabilities to not let their disability hold them back. He is the testament to the maxim that disability is never an inability. Living with a disability is never easy but it doesn’t have to be a tragedy.

For Dave, a physical disability is never a hindrance but one of his unique attributes that could be seen as an advantage or powerful asset, that is, if given the right opportunities. I believe God had put Dave at the right places and with the right people so he could help effect a profound change in the plight of people with disabilities.

Everyone should take a cue from Dave. Learn to accept reality. Learn to accept your disability. Grieve your loss and move on. As tough as it is, it’s important to let go of the past and accept where and what you are – now. Life isn’t over and there’s plenty.

Be like Dave. Even in a “broken” body, you can still live a happy meaningful life, even if you’re never able to walk or see again. Learn from Dave or other people who overcame their disabilities who thrive and live lives they love. Their successes can help you stay motivated during tough times.

Don’t let disability hold you back. Don’t dwell on what you could no longer do. Focus on what you can do and what you hope to do. This should give you something to look forward to. Be like Dave.

Image Source: https://media.defense.gov/

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