SMA News Forums Forums Our Community 31 Days of SMA 2021 31 Days of SMA 2022 Day 4 of #31DaysofSMA: On Becoming Miss Independence

  • Day 4 of #31DaysofSMA: On Becoming Miss Independence

    Posted by jessie-madrigal-fletcher on August 5, 2022 at 5:33 pm

    Chessa Birrell is 26 years old and lives with SMA type 2.

    While away at college, she lived on campus and had groups of aides that ranged in size from eight to 15 girls. Chessa had had aides all her life, but managing 24-hour care proved to be a challenge. Chessa learned that it would be up to her to explain to the aides about the independence they were helping her gain and how she wanted tasks to be done.

    “I highly encourage others with SMA to experience living on your own, if possible. Always remember, your disability is not a crutch, and never fear inaccessibility.”

    Thanks so much for sharing your story with us, Chessa!

    Now back to our SMA community, have you tried living on your own?

    To read the rest of Chessa’s story, and learn more about her life at college, click here.

    SMA News Today’s 31 Days of SMA campaign will publish one story per day for SMA Awareness Month in August. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more stories like this, using the hashtag #31DaysofSMA, or read the full series.

    deann-r replied 1 year, 11 months ago 3 Members · 2 Replies
  • 2 Replies
  • alyssa-silva

    August 5, 2022 at 5:48 pm

    I love stories like Chessa’s. Back when I started college, I didn’t know what types of resources were available to me in terms of independent living. In fact, I hadn’t even heard of PCAs. Knowing what I know now I often wonder if things would have been different. I give a lot of credit to those who live away at college and have to manage their care. Between that and studying, it sounds like a lot of work!

  • deann-r

    August 8, 2022 at 9:11 am

    College was my first taste of true independence. Like Chessa said, it’s a lot of work. No one does it like Mom, but I’ve learned how to instruct others to come close.

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