June 30th is the awareness day for my disability, Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita. We celebrate by posting pictures on social media wearing blue, shoving pies in people’s faces, and basically talking about it all month long. In the spirit of this, my blog last year during June gave facts about my disability. But I feel that this year, a different kind of awareness-spreading is in order.
Most people my age aren’t too worried about COVID-19. After all, the statistics agree that they’re probably going to be fine if they get it. But age isn’t everything when it comes to health. Sometimes, the people who need to be careful right now also happen to be young. They’re young people with disabilities, like myself and many other campers.
Speaking from experience, being a teen with a disability in the midst of a global pandemic is not too fun. It’s tough watching all your friends go about their lives almost like normal, while you’re stuck in the house with plants for company. It’s stressful trying to decide what’s too risky, where to go and who to see. And when people don’t realize how vulnerable you are right now, because you’re young, it’s just plain scary.
I finally saw Carson, my boyfriend who I met through Camp, recently. It was the first time we’d seen each other in person for almost four months. It was awesome to see each other, of course, but the couple of weeks before our meeting were kinda stressful for both of us. I tried to isolate myself as much as possible, but I wasn’t able to stay home that week as much as I would’ve liked. I know I sound paranoid, but he’s at an even higher risk than I am of getting seriously sick. Can you imagine the feeling of knowing that your carelessness put someone you care about in the hospital?
I know this post is difficult to relate to for some, and maybe it hits home for others. Everyone should be concerned about the pandemic, but not everyone has to be like us people with disabilities. To a lot of folks, the people at a high risk are just this abstract idea. But to me, they’re my community. They’re my family, my friends, and my fellow campers. I love these people, y’all, and I want to do everything I can to keep them safe. That’s why I wrote this in June, because this is the kind of awareness that I feel will really help my AMC community, and my whole disability community, right now.
Outside of the disability community, I don’t hear people talk too much about how many different conditions can put you at risk. Don’t get me wrong, people who are older are definitely very vulnerable and that should be taken seriously. I’m not writing this to divert your attention from them, but just to expand it, so you’ll all keep my community safe, too. After all, the people reading this either know me, or are involved with Camp ASCCA. You all know a person with a disability or two.
So, I hope you’re all taking this to heart, or at least have a better picture of who you’re helping when you’re staying safe. I know it’s not always easy, but you really are making a difference. As I talked about in my last blog, things you can’t see are kind of hard to take seriously. Sometimes, people may not believe in them at all. But when it comes to protecting people’s lives and health, I encourage everyone do all they can, no matter who you are. We’re all in this together, and we’re all worth putting in the time and effort to protect.