I'm writing to you because I want other kids to know that life is what you make of it. Each one of us is an individual person...no two the same. And *no one* is perfect. Take me for instance!

I am 39 years old and when I was about 8 months old I was diagnosed with having polio. My mom tells me that  I started to walk when I was about 2 years old. Soon I wore leg braces and a back brace and I used canes to help me walk. When I started school I 'had graduated' to wearing one full length leg brace on my right leg and a half length one, to my knee, on my left. 

Kids were mean to me, and I didn't have a best friend 'til I was in the sixth grade. I lived in a small town where there were not a lot of 
kids with visible problems, though there was another boy in school had polio, too. 

I grew up with four brothers, three older and one younger. It was 
because of them that I learned to be tough. I can take a lot. My mom and dad raised me just like the rest of the kids and they let me find my own strengths. I learned that I could usually find a way to overcome most anything that blocked me.

I feel that I am very fortunate to have my life and I must say that I'm proud of myself! I'm married now, I have two kids, and I live on a farm. In addition to that, I have a full time job outside my home. I just hope that other kids who have disabilities don't give up. YOU can have great life too! Be proud of youself and you will find your place in this world. 

All the best, Judy McKnight

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Joan Fleitas, Ed.D., R.N.
Associate Professor of Nursing, Lehman College, CUNY
Bronx, New York 10468

Last updated: November 14, 2004