In My Own Words

John Manison • November 02, 2012
“You can do whatever you want as long as you put your mind to it.”

In November 2009 I felt a sudden, severe pain in my legs. I was diagnosed with a disease called transverse myelitis, which attacked my spinal cord and paralyzed me from the waist down. I had some feeling in my legs, like pins and needles, but I had no movement whatsoever. I started coming to Kennedy Krieger for intensive therapy four to five hours a day. Thanks to my amazing therapists and because I was religious about continuing therapy at home, I made a lot of progress.

Sashay Duckett • June 19, 2012
Never say you can't--because you can.
Sashay Duckett

When I started at Kennedy Krieger Middle School, I was very frustrated and angry because I did not think I needed to be here. Slowly, though, I began to see that Kennedy Krieger was the right school for me. But it took time. Today I realize that I needed to be here to get the education I needed, because I might not have done as well anywhere else. Knowing this makes it easy for me to go to school and even easier to do what I have to in order to have a successful future.

Meredith Purvis • November 27, 2009
Young Woman Turns Spinal Cord Injury into an Inspirational Career

There was broken glass and debris everywhere, and I could hear sirens in the distance. Just moments before I was sleeping in the car as we drove home from a family vacation in Florida. I was jolted awake as the car flipped over, and I could feel myself being thrown around as if I were in a washing machine. I was strangely calm, lying half in and half out of the backseat - until the paramedic checked me for injuries and I couldn't feel anything. I began to panic. When I asked if I was paralyzed, he wouldn't answer.

Matt Courson • January 30, 2009
With hard work and faith, nothing is impossible.
Matt Courson

I've always been an athlete. When I was younger, I pitched the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) World Series twice. After high school, I played baseball for the University of Arkansas at Monticello. But, despite those achievements, I never imagined how much physical strength I would need in a wheelchair. Late one Saturday night two years ago, I got on my fourwheeler to visit a friend, but I never made it to his apartment. My ATV (all-terrain vehicle) went over an eight-foot embankment, and I was knocked out. When I came to, I couldn't move. I laid there all night and staring up at the stars; I knew something wasn't right.

Imir Woods • November 13, 2007
Specialized foster program gives one young man the foundation he needs to thrive in college
Success Starts at Home

The first few years of my life, I didn't know much about stability or security. I was in and out of foster care, living with six different families by the time I was eight years old. Then I met Bea and Larry Thomas, who became my foster parents.

Abby Reznek • December 28, 2006
Kennedy Krieger High School student with autism secures dream internship with NASA
Abby Reznek

There's just something about the solar system that fascinates me. It started when I was about five years old. I couldn't get enough of books and computer programs about planets, moons, and stars. I was even interested in model rockets because, in life-size form, they created a path to the great Milky Way.

But learning hasn't always been easy for me. I have autism, a developmental disability that can affect normal brain function.

That's why I attended Kennedy Krieger. I think it has the best school in the country for people with autism. 

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