by Michele Irelan, Colorado
I have always admired a fascinating
woman who I feel made huge strides in the advancement of physically
handicapped people. Helen Keller became both deaf and blind as
a result of meningitis, at the age of only 19 months. Few people
realize the incredible achievements she made despite her handicap.
Helen beat all odds when she learned
to read, write and speak. Up until age 7, doctors had no way of
educating her, but when her parents made an appeal to Alexander
Graham Bell regarding her education, Anne Sullivan became her
teacher. Helen went on to attend Radcliffe College, where she
graduated with honors in 1904. She became a worldwide lecturer
and the author of 14 books. She dedicated her life to helping
others and served as an inspiration to those with physical handicaps.
She has touched the lives of so many
people with her story, including mine. Due to her wonderful example
of conquering obstacles and her compassion for humanity, I sought
after work that would allow me to become the best person I could
be. One of my first jobs was working at a daycare center for handicapped
children, most of whom were autistic. I was drawn to help people
with disabilities and eventually began volunteering at a local
nursing home, becoming well versed in communicating with seniors
who could no longer see or hear as well as they used to. I learned
a little sign language and soon realized the importance of Braille.
Helen Keller taught me that no matter
what challenges you face in life, you can always work through
them and become a powerful player in the lives of others.