By Katie Moloney, UConn Journalism
December 14, 2019
Everyone is different. Everyone has things about them that make them unique and see the world differently. My difference is a little more obvious. I was born without my left hand. To this day, doctors still aren’t quite sure why. Growing up, I was very self-conscious about my hand. I wore long sleeves often and I was so afraid of what other people would think of me. Now, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
I am confident in who I am and I think it is important to spread awareness about differences and disabilities. It is important for people to understand that everyone with a limb difference is different and carries themselves differently. I prefer people to ask honest questions and want people to understand how I do things. I tend to joke about my hand often and encourage people laughing along with me. My difference does not define who I am, but it is definitely an important part of who I am.
About 1 in every 1,900 babies are born with a limb difference in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. There are many different types of congenital limb differences, which are limb differences that someone is born with. While children with limb differences have challenges they overcome on a daily basis, a study by Boston Children’s Hospital has shown that children with limb differences tend to have very positive emotional health.
This episode of the podcast features Nicole Kelly, former Miss Iowa and disability speaker and advocate. She has spoken at schools and events all over the country to spread awareness about disabilities. In this episode, Nicole and I talk about how she got to where she is today and how we should talk about disabilities. Check out Nicole’s podcast with her friend Sarah Tuberty called Disarming Disability.
Nicole and I met at the Helping Hands Foundation winter outing when she spoke at it a few years back. Helping Hands is a non-profit organization that aims to connect families with children with upper limb differences.
In this episode of the podcast I also talk to my mom, Sue, about how she found out I was going to have a limb difference. My parents found the Helping Hands Foundation very shortly after I was born and I attended my first outing as a baby. I have been going to the winter and summer outings ever since and this group has been a wonderful support system for my family and I.
TOP PHOTO: A group photo of some of the people with limb differences at a Helping Hands Winter Outing (Photo from the Helping Hands Facebook group).