All of us have stumbling blocks in our lives. The disabled have physical or mental impairments that make life more challenging. When disabilities arise, our responsibility to each other is to help everyone have as enjoyable and peaceful a life as possible.
As part of our mission, Right to Life of Indianapolis promotes respect for people living with disabilities, and strongly opposes abortion and euthanasia targeting such individuals.
There are several organizations in Indianapolis dedicated to aiding people with disabilities. Click here for list.
None of us know from moment to moment when we may face circumstances beyond our control, e.g. an accident, illness, or the effects of aging, that could cause us to have impairments. It is important that we learn and are prepared for these new challenges in our lives. Our greatest source of knowledge is the example of others who have put forth the effort to overcome adversity and found the ability to live life with grace.
Read these inspiring stories from families who have worked with disabilities since the birth of a member of their family.
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There are many degrees of infirmity in cerebral palsy (CP), a condition resulting from damage to the muscle control/motor functions of the brain. Rich’s brain damage occurred at birth and has resulted in his being wheelchair-bound with muscle spasticity and articulation difficulties. For those like Rich, who have CP and are blessed with excellent intellect, daily activities can be frustrating. The anomaly of not being able to fully dress oneself or to easily converse, yet being able to drive a hand-control adapted van from his wheelchair and be employed as a computer programmer/analyst, is both a curse and a blessing.
Rich is amazed at the fear, nervousness and apprehension very apparent in others he newly meets due to his CP and their unfamiliarity with that condition. However, after their first meeting when they get to really know him, Rich is equally amazed by the warm friendship which almost universally occurs at their next meeting. Helping others to interrelate with him in a “normal way” is most rewarding to Rich.
Rich enjoys the support he gets from co-workers at Golden Rule Insurance Co. “I delight in being one of the guys at work,” says Rich. And by the way, thank you God (and Golden Rule), for allowing Rich to have full time employment in their computer/IT department these last 18 years.
Finding and keeping a support system in place to assist in daily life functions is crucial. Rich was fortunate to have some very special school friends who carried him up and down three flights of stairs in his wheelchair for each class change for four years of high school at Brebeuf, before Brebeuf had elevators. That was special to all of us, including to the students and others who witnessed it. His intellectual performance allowed him to obtain a college degree in his interest of love….computers. Where there’s a will, there’s a way! He even played wheelchair football at Ball State during his couple of years there, and enjoyed that very much. The high speed motors on his wheelchair helped him outrun his defenders.
Family who provide daily living support to Rich feel blessed at being asked by God to serve in this very special Stewardship Mission. We thank God everyday for the things that Rich can do, and work on those things he can’t. What is most rewarding is to see how productive Rich has been in his computer career and to listen to his wit and wisdom on a daily basis….all while he is earning a special place near Him for eternity.
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To be asked to write about our oldest granddaughter, Mollie, is an honor I embrace. Let me begin at her birth, when the doctors were not sure, at first, of her diagnosis-that is because Mollie has a very rare type of Down Syndrome. She has Translocation 21/21 Down Syndrome, which means she has 46 chromosomes like everyone else, but has two 21 chromosomes attached to each other, giving her the same amount of chromosomal material as someone with Trisomy 21 Down Syndrome. Mollie’s Daddy and Mama “adjusted” in about two weeks and then began to read all that was available about Down Syndrome.
As I look back on that time, 24 years ago, I smile to myself thinking about all the dearness of our family and friends. Whatever needed to be done to help Mollie was done. Infant stimulation was the first suggestion and we all learned to do that. In that first year, David, Mollie’s father, had a business trip to Florida and Frank, my husband, and I said we’d take care of Mollie so that Mary Anne could go, too. My two dear friends, Elly and Lois, came to our home and learned what to do to stimulate Mollie’s muscles and stayed with her during the time I had to be in our business office.
Mollie went to the Jayne Shover Easter Seal Center in Elgin, Illinois during those days. Another sister, Mary Emily, came along, and then wonder of wonders, David was offered a position here in Indianapolis. Mollie attended school in Washington Township, Marion County. She participated in Special Olympics, special classes, and Sunday Morning Religious Education at St. Luke, their family parish.
Our precious granddaughter was then accepted into Cardinal Ritter High School and the special curriculum they offered would give her the opportunity to try for a high school diploma- something which Washington Township would not allow. Once again, Mollie’s Daddy and Mama made the commitment to drive Mollie to high school across town. Here, too, she was involved in even more than lessons. She was the manager of the Volleyball team all four years. When she was a sophomore, her classmates selected her as their Homecoming Princess and part of the Homecoming Court.
After completing her special years at Cardinal Ritter and with much help from Noble of Indiana, Mollie entered Marian College for the opportunity to live on her own and go to college- just like the rest of her Cardinal Ritter classmates. We had a dear and treasured reception when Mollie completed 2 years at Marian.
Then, her call came to Grandma B.- “I got the job!” Yep, our Mollie now has a full-time job with Parisian at Keystone at the Crossing and her own apartment.
Thank you, God, Noble of Indiana, Family and Friends.
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Oh Brother: Living, Loving and Learning
Marty is my younger brother who lives and works in Lafayette, Indiana. My parents raised Marty, along with my older brother Marc and I, in Kokomo, Indiana. Marty works at Payless and a grocery store, and volunteers at a local food bank. He lives in an apartment with a roommate and he recently returned from Texas where he served as a groomsman in a wedding of a long-time friend. Marty loves music, movies, television, socializing with friends and working out at the Y.M.C.A. On the surface, his life is not that different from that of other young men in their late twenties. So why am I writing this article about him? Well other than the fact that he is a great brother and friend, Marty has Down Syndrome.
I was almost four years old when I answered the call from my Mom at the hospital letting me know that Marty had arrived. I do not recall any sadness or hesitation in her voice in sharing this news, but I was so excited that I hung up on her. Mom and Dad later shared with our family that the delivery room went silent as Marty arrived. The doctors and nurses knew that something was wrong, but they were not ready to make a diagnosis. After a few weeks and some trips to Riley Children’s Hospital for genetic testing, the doctors diagnosed Marty with Down Syndrome. Being a new father, I cannot begin to imagine the thoughts crossing through the minds of my parents as they digested this news. What I can tell you for certain is that the parental instinct of wanting the best for their child was very strong from the beginning. Mom had been a teacher until Marc arrived seven years before Marty, so she knew that Marty’s education would be an uphill battle. Mom and Dad tirelessly fought for Marty’s education from the moment he arrived to the moment he walked across the stage to a standing ovation to receive his Certificate of Completion at his high school graduation ceremony.
They still battle for what is best for Marty, a battle that continues to get tougher as Medicaid cuts spread throughout the system.
Their continued efforts paid big dividends as Marty blossomed into the man he is today- a great son, brother, uncle and friend. As the disability community continues to strengthen and minds continue to open, resources and opportunities for individuals with disabilities and their families become more available. Organizations such as the ARC, the Indiana Down Syndrome Foundation, Dads Appreciating Down Syndrome and Best Buddies Indiana provide support and opportunity for individuals and their families to find success much like Marty.
As part of our mission, Right to Life of Indianapolis promotes respect for the disabled and the elderly, and strongly opposes the practice of euthanasia which often targets these individuals.
There are several organizations in Indianapolis dedicated to aiding the elderly and people with disabilities.
Click here for list of disability assistance organizations.
Click here for list of elderly assistance organizations.
For more information about euthanasia, visit these helpful websites:
Stem Cell Research
The Facts on Stem Cell Research:
Why are scientists so interested in them?
Stem cells have the potential to develop into mature cells that have characteristic shapes and specialized functions, such as heart cells, skin cells, or nerve cells.
Where are stem cells found?
In the adult organism (“adult” referring to humans or animals any point after birth) stem cells are found in the bone marrow, blood stream, brain, spinal cord, dental pulp, skeletal muscle, skin, gastrointestinal tract, cornea, retina, liver, and pancreas. Another rich source of stem cells is the blood within umbilical cords and placentas no longer needed by newborn babies. New research shows human fat contains stem cells.
What’s the problem with stem cell research?
Adult stem cell research is not controversial; no human being dies when these are collected. The moral problem arises because harvesting embryonic stem cells destroys the embryo. “Even though embryonic stem cell research one day could be proven useful, it is still never ethically acceptable to sacrifice the life of one human being to save another without their consent. The world should have learned that lesson from the scientists of Nazi Germany,” says RTL of Michigan President Barbara Listing.
Is the enthusiasm for embryonic stem cell research justified?
Human embryonic cells (ESCs) have not yet successfully treated disease. Currently, the National Institutes of Health says that “any therapies based on the use of Human ES cells are still hypothetical and highly experimental.”
But it’s not legal, right?
Wrong. Embryonic stem cell research is fully allowed in the United States-there is no federal law against it. The government has only set some limits on the number of embryonic stem cell lines eligible for federal funding.
Click here to see the successes of Adult Stem Cells compared to Embryonic Stem Cells.
Local Adult Stem Cell Researcher finding success. Read the article by Dr. March.
Need more information?
Right to Life of Indianapolis has a helpful booklet titled “Stem Cell Research, Cloning & Human Embryos” available in our office. (Published by the Family Research Council and written by Rev. Dr. Tadeusz Pacholczyk, expert on stem cell research.) Cost: $1.
Call 317-582-1526 for more information.
Invite a speaker to come to your church, school, or civic group to speak on stem cell research. See our list of speakers.