Disability is Not a Dirty Word: Why Kasey Galik Embraces Her Unique Journey

Disability is Not a Dirty Word: Why Kasey Galik Embraces Her Unique Journey

Written by Kasey Galik, Adapted Physical Education Specialist & ‘Disability is Not a Dirty Word’ PSA cast member

In the second grade, I was diagnosed with dyslexia, a learning disability that made reading and writing a significant challenge. At that young age, I was already facing obstacles that set me apart from my peers. Little did I know that my journey with disability was only beginning. Several years later, a boating accident resulted in the loss of my left arm. This physical challenge compounded my learning difficulties, but it ultimately laid the foundation for my growth and self-acceptance.

Initially, I felt the need to prove to everyone that I was just as capable with one arm as I had been with two. This led to overuse and exhaustion of my remaining arm as I pushed myself to the limit to demonstrate my abilities. However, through time, growth, and support, I learned a crucial lesson: I did not need to prove my worth to anyone. I needed to be proud of who I was, regardless of my disabilities.

Self-reflection played a significant role in this journey. I realized that I had to prioritize my well-being and ask for help when needed. This was not a sign of weakness but a recognition of my humanity. I began to practice daily self-care routines, including working out, stretching, icing, and heating my overused arm to maintain its health and functionality. These practices were essential, not just for my physical health, but for my mental and emotional well-being as well.

One of the most profound changes came in my interactions with others. For instance, when going to the grocery store and unloading my car, I began to ask for help. Rather than feeling ashamed, I found joy in these connections. People were often more than willing to assist, and these small moments of kindness brightened my day and reinforced my sense of community.

My goal now is to make the world a better place for individuals with disabilities. I want to empower others to be proud of who they are, despite any differences. We all have challenges, and it is through acceptance and support that we can genuinely uplift one another. By seeing the positive light in all aspects of life, we can appreciate the beautiful world we are blessed to have.

Disability is not a dirty word. It is a part of who we are, and it deserves to be celebrated. During Disability Pride Month and beyond, let us raise each other up, embrace our unique journeys, and strive to create a world where everyone feels valued and proud of who they are.

Learn more about Easterseals Southern California’s ‘Disability is Not a Dirty Word’ campaign by visiting DisabilityPride.com. Discover interactive tools, purchase merchandise, hear real stories from people with disabilities, and become involved by sharing your own story.

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