His Story

I was asked to write more about my history so that others with disabilities and their families or
friends can see that they can indeed do something with their lives.  I'm not going to spend a lot of
time dwelling on my disabilities themselves but will give you a brief overview of what they are then
I'll tell you what I've done in my life.

I was born in 1974 with Spina Bifida and a neuroenteric cyst.  The doctors told my mother that I
wouldn't live and, if, by some miracle I did live, I would never walk.  I walked at 10 months
although I didn't crawl until I was a couple years old.   I have severe scoliosis, asthma, COPD
(from 2nd hand smoke so parents watch smoking around your kids!), arthritis, dystonia, Bipolar
Disorder II, epilepsy, hydrocephalous, and a syrinx inside my spinal cord.  I'm probably forgetting
a few dx's too.  I have had 41 operations as of December 26, 2003, and will hopefully be having
the syrinx operated on before too long.  

With that out of the way, let me tell you about the real me.  As a child growing up, my mother was
very protective of me.  She prevented me from doing a lot of the things that I wanted to do.  As a
result, when I got to be a teenager, I rebelled.  But, I did it in a good way.  Without going into
details, let's just say my family was on the dys side of the functional scale.  So I started making
good grades.  I started doing school activities.  And I decided to go to college.

In September of 1992, I left home for the first time and moved into a dorm at Truett-McConnell
College in Cleveland, Georgia.  I was on a full scholarship because of my academic standing
and the fact that I was studying to go into the ministry.  I was very involved in the Ministerial
Association and the Baptist Student Union.   Since TMC was only a 2-year school, I transferred
from Truett-McConnell College to Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia in
September of 1995.  TMC allowed me to take my science sequence and my history class at KSU
and transfer those credits back to Truett to get my Associate of Arts Degree which I received in

At Kennesaw State University I became a Disability Rights Activist.  I served in the Student
Government Association as the representative for Disabled students.  Then I served in the
Campus Activities Board as the representative for Disabled Students.  I also founded the
Kennesaw State University Disabled Student Organization to try to bring students with disabilities
together.  I organized Disability Awareness Programming on campus.  One event one an award
as the Best Educational Event of the Year and one event won an award as the Best Cultural Event
of the Year.

For the work that I did at Kennesaw State, I received national recognition.  I won the 1997 Michael
Schwerner Activst Award.  This is a national award which is given to 5 college students each year
for community activism of some nature.  It's named after one of the gentlemen whose murders
inspired the movie Mississippi Burning.  I was also a 1997 Mitsubishi Electric America Scholar.  
This program allowed me to study for 7 weeks in the Public Policy and International Affairs
Summer Institute at the University of California at Berkeley and then it paid for me to go to
Washington, D.C.,  for 13 weeks as an intern in the Office of Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights at
the U.S. Department of State.  

I graduated from Kennesaw State University with honors in May of 1998.  I have a Bachelor of
Science degree in Organizational Communication with a minor in Human Services.  I spent the
next year preparing to get married to a woman I had met on the internet.  Amanda and I had met
on America Online in August of 1997.  She was from Indiana and I was from Georgia.  We
became fast friends and then slowly fell in love.  We got married July 31, 1999 and she moved to
Georgia.  We moved back up to Indiana about 9 months later to be near her family and because
she got offered a job up here.  

We still live in southern Indiana.  I live in a nursing facility now because my disabilities have
gotten so severe that I can't take care of myself full time at home and Amanda has to work to pay
the bills.  I had to stop working in 2001 because of my disabilities.  I do get to leave the facility any
time I want and go on dates with my wife or go to church or where ever I want to go but I have to
be here most of the time.

Well, that's my story.  If you have any questions or want to talk, email me or IM me.  My Yahoo
Messenger Screenname is Revhart and so is my AIM Screenname.  To email me just click on the
Feedback button to the left and fill out the form.


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