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Never Give Up!

     I have Spina Bifida, Hydrocephalus, and Arnold Chiari Malformation. My back was never repaired. I was born in 1954 and was told that I was not expected to live. I have a lump on my back at the tailbone area, covered with skin that was not surgically done.        I walk with long leg braces and crutches most of the time. I also use a wheelchair for long distances. I had a normal childhood growing up, for the most part. I went to public school. I graduated in 1973.       I do not recall anybody ever making fun of me, but probably because I grew up in the same neighborhood as all the kids in my school. The kids knew me, which I found to be quite helpful. They carried my book bag along with other things. As an adult, it is more difficult to get around because of being older. Overall though, it does not affect my life too much.      I am pretty active overall. I have been married forty years. I have kids and now grandkids. I live a pretty normal life I would say. I have a couple of hobbies to pass the time, such as cross stitch (I have quilted in the past). I used to watch my grandkids, but now they do not need me to do so anymore. I ride a bike (that uses my arms) five miles a day, most days.    My advice to new parents would be to let their child or children experience, fall and rise above. Try to treat them as normal as possible. I think that is why I have done well. My parents did not coddle me at all. I had chores and was treated like my siblings.     My advice for others with a disability would be to never give up trying. Exercise and stay active so you can stay fit and take care of yourself. Do what you can for yourself. Enjoy your life to the best of your ability.

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