On this #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration, we want to share with you a personal story from one of our amazing participants, GlendaLee. We hope that when you read her story, you’ll be inspired to donate to AccesSurf. By becoming a Sustaining Member you help ensure our participants will be riding waves of joy well into the future. For as little as $10 a month – about the cost of two cups of coffee – you can make a tremendous difference in someone’s life. Please sign up today and give at any level that works for you.
“Aloha, my name is Glendalee. I was once like most of you, someone without a disability…
Someone who enjoyed life as a hula dancer from a young age. Someone who was blessed to ride the rivers of my home – the Garden Aisle – fishing, hiking, and enjoying outdoor activities with family and friends.
At the age of 23 I began to lose my strength. Walking became very difficult for me. I saw numerous doctors, all the while becoming weaker and weaker. Finally, I was able to see a specialist and was eventually diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy, a group of diseases that cause progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass. A diagnosis for which there is no cure.
The progression of this disease limits what I can do, and my body continues to deteriorate. This not only physically hurts, but takes away my freedom and tears at my spirit.
I now use a wheelchair for mobility and my doctors restrict my activity as I am more prone to injury. My personal cure to move as a ‘normal person’ was aqua exercise, but sadly my medical coverage for this was cut due to funding issues. It was incredibly difficult to lose this one way to feel freedom and have joy back into my life.
Then I discovered AccesSurf. My life took on a new meaning, I was given back the opportunity to go to the beach and get in the water!
I notice a considerable difference in my mind and body if I miss an event, as was evident recently when the ‘hurricane’ caused the September ‘Day at the Beach’ cancellation. That month my hands could not grasp things and my arms were not moving, even with shock therapy.
The next month, when I finally got back into the water the relief was instant. My spirits were filled with an indescribable joy of freedom without anything bearing down on me due to my disability. The strength of my fight came back and I took advantage of all the water activities that day. The following day my forearms were no longer numb and I could lift my arms again; by Tuesday I felt my fingers again! That Day at the Beach gave me the courage to keep on fighting.
Prior to AccesSurf I was so tired of my disability, I felt like giving up. Coming to their events and meeting so many positive and encouraging people has changed all of that for me. They believe in what they do and the people who come together to help at their events are truly there to make a difference for others.
Those Saturday’s on the water have given me back my strength and positive outlook. There are a lot of things in life that are possible if you are sick or have a disability, even a diagnosis without a cure. The ocean gives us strength, and AccesSurf gives us an ocean of possibilities.”