Working with a disability can be a challenge, but many people who use wheelchairs have overcome difficult odds and discrimination and found success in the workforce. We found some inspiring stories in New Mobility magazine that we wanted to share with you.
Renee Tyree, 49, knew from an early age that she wanted to be a doctor. When she was enrolled in college as a pre-med student, she was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, which caused lower limb paralysis. She encountered problems with an inaccessible college campus and people who tried to steer her away from her dream of becoming a doctor. She transferred to the University of Arizona, which was more accessible and had more supports in place for disabled students. She competed in the Paralympics in Spain and graduated as a doctor of pharmacy in 1993.
Tyree encountered discrimination in some jobs by people who questioned her abilities, but she persevered and won several promotions. She now works as a clinical implementation specialist, setting up computer operations systems for hospitals. She attributes her success to staying focused on her goal, putting people at ease, and giving them chances to ask questions.
Justice Ender, 29, was born with VATER Syndrome that caused a slanted pelvis, legs of different lengths, and small stature. He overcame abuse, an adoption that didn’t work out, and living without basis necessities and found a career as a media specialist and freelance writer. He advises other job seekers with disabilities to work as much as possible to avoid resume gaps and to network with others who might be able to offer them jobs.
Liz Davis, 24, was born with sacral agenesis. She uses a power wheelchair outside and a manual wheelchair to get around indoors. She studied graphic design and works as a web catalog administrator who designs, builds, and maintains web/e-commerce stores. She was fortunate to find a job in her hometown with an employer who is willing to work around her medical appointments. Davis says she works as hard as possible and always strives to do better.
Kip Johnson suffered a C5-6 complete spinal cord injury from a skiing accident six months before graduating from high school. His aunt helped him finish his studies, and he devoted the next two years to rehab. He tried several jobs before finding success as a real estate agent. Johnson and his fiancée plan to get married this August.
These individuals provide that people with disabilities can succeed in the workforce. With determination and perseverance, people who use wheelchairs can demonstrate their abilities and contribute to their chosen fields.