Embracing My Inner Alien - a column by Kevin Schaefer

wheelchair malfunction, movie theaterKevin is a writer, podcaster, and lover of all things pop-culture. Diagnosed with SMA Type 2 at the age of 18 months, he shares a vast array of hilarious and eye-opening stories from his life with a neuromuscular disability. In addition to his weekly columns, he works as the Director of Forums for this site’s parent company, BioNews. Kevin is a graduate of North Carolina State University and lives with his parents in Cary, NC. People regularly mistake him for Tony Stark, on account of his intellect and advanced technological equipment.

 

Navigating the Many Highs and Lows of Life With SMA

I recently attended my first pop culture convention since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Masked up, I felt right at home among the crowds of “Star Wars” and “Stranger Things” cosplayers passing by. Though it had been three years since my last con, I eagerly anticipated a day…

Riding the Roller Coaster of Being a 20-something With SMA

In the film “Licorice Pizza,” 20-something protagonist Alana (Alana Haim) leaps from one adventure to the next in the eccentric atmosphere of 1970s Southern California. She meets the smooth-talking teenage actor Gary (Cooper Hoffman), who’s immediately smitten with her. Together, they start a business, encounter a cast of…

Life Advice From My Hippie SMA Friend

I correspond with a number of friends and acquaintances in the SMA community on a regular basis, but mostly through social media and work. However, there is one friend I met at a conference in 2017 who is a bit of a maverick. Mike has no social media presence…

Who Am I? Embracing My SMA Advocacy

I was at a friend’s wedding a few months ago when I pondered the question of how to properly introduce myself. Typically, I give the spiel that the company I work for is a network of rare disease websites, and my job involves overseeing online communities and writing and…

How a Meltdown Changed My Life for the Better

I was about to wrap up my freshman year of college when I found myself absorbed in a whirlwind of emotions. Tubes surrounded me as I sat in my room attached to my Vest Airway Clearance System, a device I’d been using since my sophomore year of high school.

Imagining a World Without Ableism

A friend and I were sitting in a dimly lit movie theater a few years ago when two guys in their 20s approached me. I couldn’t tell initially if I knew them, but after a closer look, I realized that neither was an acquaintance of mine. They each bore somber,…