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Jeremy MacDonald,
Prince Edward Island, Canada

“If there is something you really want to do, or you have a goal you really want to pursue, go after it! You may have to do things a bit differently and get a bit creative, but there is often a way.” With this positive mindset Jeremy MacDonald shares his experience with cerebral palsy.

“The biggest lesson I have taken from living with a disability, and thing I would pass along to others is, if there is something you really want to do, or a goal you really want to pursue, go after it! You may have to do things a bit differently and get a bit creative, but there is often a way. The other major piece of advice I would have would be to connect with local disability organizations and other disabled people in your community, as this will often open the door to resources and opportunities you might not otherwise know were out there.

 

I am from Canada’s smallest province, Prince Edward Island. It is on he east coast and has a population of around 170,000. I have three university degrees and will be beginning my career as a lawyer later this year. I have always been passionate about sport and physical activity, and have competed in wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby, and CrossFit. ”

“I think that living with a disability has taught me several important things. Firstly, It has taught me empathy. When someone has different challenges, a different perspective, or a different reality from me, I do my best to try to understand things from my perspective, something I always hope people will do for me and others with disabilities. It has taught me perseverance. Undoubtedly, being disabled has thrown a variety of challenges at me over the years, whether they be physical, societal, or otherwise. But over time I have learned that most challenges can be met, with the right approach and some patience and effort. Similarly, it has taught me to be creative in finding solutions to any challenges I may face, to keep an open mind and be willing to go for it and try new things. “

 

Sport plays a big part in Jeremy’s life,  “Sport and exercise has meant the world to me for as long as I can remember. Growing up, I was unsure how I would ever get to participate as an athlete, as there wasn’t a whole lot off opportunity in disabled sport in PEI. Luckily, we had a strong wheelchair basketball program led by a fantastic coach, and that was really my entry into life as an athlete. Twenty years later, I have been lucky to compete in three separate sports, and meet countless friends and fantastic people in each. I plan to participate in them all as an athlete for as long as my body allows, and then likely continue my participation as a coach and administrator.”

 

There are a few stereotypes about people with disabilities that Jeremy would like to address. “Disability is sad and that disabled people are to be pitied. This is simply not true, and is an outdated stereotype that needs to go. A related one is the belief that living with a disability equals a lesser quality of life. This is also far from the truth. Finally, I think there is often a stereotype that exists that people with disabilities are often less productive in employment and leadership roles than their able-bodied counterparts. This is also often false, and often comes about largely because employers, educational institutions and other organisations often fail to put proper accommodations in place to allow persons with disabilities to fulfil their potential and thrive.”