Within 3 Years, This Column Has Grown and Changed

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by Halsey Blocher |

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Somehow, it’s already been three years since I began sharing my story with you in this column. It’s been a beautiful, heartfelt adventure that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. But I have to admit that when I invited you to pull up a chair back in 2019, I didn’t really think that’s still where we would be today. I’m glad it is.

Shortly after accepting my position as a columnist for SMA News Today, I devised a plan for the future of this column. It was simple and practical. I would write on the consistent twice-monthly schedule that many of you count on for at least two years. After three years, I expected that I would run out of things to say and my column would reach its conclusion.

If you’re suddenly concerned that this is my final column, fear not. Thankfully, things haven’t gone according to my plan. Instead, my professional writing career has grown in ways I couldn’t have anticipated, and I won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

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Not only have I ended up on a different course than the one I expected to take, but I also ended up on a better one. I’ve become immersed in the impactful company culture that encourages inclusivity, connectedness, and kindness here at BioNews, the publisher of this site.

I’m constantly surrounded by colleagues who support and assist me in everything I do, and regularly reading other columns challenges my perspectives, introduces me to new ideas, and helps me expand upon my own thoughts, which influences and strengthens my writing.

In my time working at BioNews, I’ve also been blessed with the opportunity to grow as a leader. My career has expanded beyond writing my own column, and now I manage a team of other writers who also have columns on various websites.

It’s not a role I saw myself in until it was presented to me, yet it’s been immensely fulfilling to help my team flourish as writers and individuals, just as others have helped me to do — and they continue to do that for me every day.

In three years, I’ve changed and grown in many ways, and I’m proud of that. The path and process of doing so looks different for everyone, but we all change over time. Looking back, I realize that my column has also grown and changed alongside me. It’s evolved into something more than what I intended for it to be when I started it.

When I settle in to work on a new draft, I often take a moment to scroll past each of the old ones neatly arranged in chronological order in their digital folder. As the list becomes increasingly longer, I still pause to read the name of each file, and the knowledge of their contents shows me how far I’ve come.

I notice many things when I reflect on my old columns. I’m reminded of happy memories, skills I’ve developed, and times when I feel like my words really had an impact.

One of the most profound things I’ve noticed is that I’m not just telling my story anymore. I’m telling our story. This column has become the collective story of the SMA and disability communities. Yes, I still share about myself, but these days, it’s usually in connection to something beyond that.

I’ve told the stories of Amber, Jasmine, and Brad and Jack. I intentionally seek out columns written by my co-workers that I can incorporate into mine. My family and friends are intertwined with all of my writing, and they’re frequently a source of inspiration and offer thought-provoking insight and advice on my topics.

My story is important, but so is everyone else’s. Together our stories hold even greater power and influence. I was gifted with a platform from which to share and advocate, but it’s not a gift I choose to keep only for myself. It’s meant to be shared, and I choose to use it to amplify and uplift the voices of the communities I’m blessed to represent. Each one of them has something of value to contribute.

I don’t know how long this column will continue, but I wouldn’t dare try to put a new number on it. The lives of the people in this community are intricately woven together, and we still have so many stories to tell. I hope you’ll stick around to see how this column continues to grow in new and beautiful ways as the people around me inspire me with their stories.

Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.


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