31 Days of SMA: Bella Andrade

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by Kevin Schaefer |

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Topic: Accepting People with Disabilities This is @bellajandrade ’s story: Hello! My name is Bella Andrade, and I am a 17 year-old high school student from Minnesota. Here is a peek into my life and mission with Type 2 SMA: “We, the ones who are challenged, need to be heard. To be seen not as a disability, but as a person who has and will continue to bloom.” – Robert M. Hensel. This quote describes my mission to normalize having a disability, not just for me, but for disabled people as a whole. One of my efforts to achieve this is by visiting third grade classes to share about myself and my mobility assist dog, Blaine. The students learn that even though people with disabilities may look different, we have the same interests and experiences that they have. By doing this, I also hope to normalize the use of service animals. In addition, I’ve worked to normalize disabilities through my speaking engagements while representing the Can Do Canines organization. These engagements have included luncheons, Lions Club gatherings, and more. Blaine has normalized my life by giving me more independence with daily tasks. I want others to have the same opportunity, but this is only possible by educating people and fundraising. These engagements also shed light on my life with SMA and how it’s not much different than an able-bodied person’s. Finally, I continue to work on this mission through my Girl Scout Gold Award. The objective of this project is to facilitate the management of having service dogs in schools, making it straight-forward to create regulations and to educate staff and students. I will promote this by creating a website that will educate school personnel about service dogs to make integration into school less difficult for everyone. I feel that I am just starting to blossom. I will face lifelong challenges in the areas of accessibility, discrimination, and equal opportunity. I will continue to muster support to make a difference. My mission of normalizing d#31daysofsma2020 sharing my story with SMA will always be a constant theme in my work and purpose. #SMAAwarenessMonth #SMAAwareness #31daysofsma2020

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