August 1, 2019

Heroes, Disabilities and the Power of Believing in Someone

Helen Keller is one of my heroes. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Ms. Keller, she was an author, political activist, and lecturer in the early 20th century. She campaigned for women’s suffrage, labor rights, antimilitarism, and other progressive causes.

She was also blind and deaf.

In fact, she was the first deaf-blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. Her story and the story of her teacher, Anne Sullivan, was made famous by Helen’s autobiography, The Story of My Life, and its adaptations for film and stage, The Miracle Worker.

As a toddler, Helen contracted an unknown illness, which might have been scarlet fever or meningitis. The illness left her both deaf and blind. In her early life, unable to communicate, she was isolated from her family and the world around her. That is, until Anne Sullivan arrived at her house on March 5, 1887, a day Helen would forever remember as her “soul’s birthday.” Sullivan immediately began to teach Helen to communicate by spelling words into her hand.

Fast forward, Helen became an internationally famous writer, lecturer, humanitarian, and advocate for the deaf and the blind. Among the many accolades she received from around the world, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the United States.

She was able to achieve so much because someone believed in her.

She also inspired me. And she sensitized me to the needs and to the potential of disabled people, and I guess, by extension, the needs and potential of disabled animals.

So why am I writing about Helen Keller today?

Well, I want to introduce you to Rolly, a sweet, playful little cat. Rolly is also blind. He is not in pain, he just can’t see. And if you look at his video, you will see that he gets by just fine.

Rolly too needs someone to believe in him. He desperately needs a loving home. He needs someone to give him his “soul’s birthday.”

Might you be that person?

Bruce Roney
President and CEO