“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”
He contracted polio at age 14, spent eighteen months in the hospital and then returned home paralyzed from the neck down, except for two fingers of one hand and several fingers of the feet. He slept in an iron lung at night and his only prospective was to live his life as a vegetable. But he didn’t give up.
Despite the difficulties, he decided to go to school and to think of himself as a fighter.
And he did fight for his rights.
The battle began when a high school administrator threatened to deny a diploma because he had not completed the driving instruction and physical education. Then was admitted to the University of California, Berkeley. He had to fight for the support from the California Department of Vocational Rehabilitation to attend college because they thought he would never get a job because of his condition.
He was the first quadriplegic to graduate from the University of California. He spent half of his life in an iron lung and the other half in a wheelchair. This has not prevented him to become an activist, fight for the rights of the disabled, and overturn his life.
He led the rapid growth of CIL at a decisive moment for the nascent movement for disability rights.
In 1976, he was appointed Director of the California Department of Vocational Rehabilitation.
In 2011 a multi -agency center for independent living, known as the Ed Roberts Campus, had its grand opening.
In 2011 he was inserted into the California Hall of Fame.
He became the voice of the disabled people and it’s because of him that there are laws now that secure them the right to have a job.
Ed Roberts died March 14, 1995, at the age of 56. Despite physical disabilities and many challenges, he made his life a masterpiece.
The truth is that there is always an alternative. You can choose to live in the dark, turn on the light or stay in the shadows. You have your life in your hands, chances are in your hands.
If Ed Roberts has been able to do all of this, what can you do?
In one of his speeches he describes his experience at school:
“I remember that day very clearly. I arrived during lunchtime. My brother lowered me out of the back of the station wagon, and it was like a tennis match–everyone turned to look at me. I looked at someone, right in the eyes, and they turned and looked away. That was when I realized that maybe it wasn’t my problem; maybe it was their problem. I checked myself out, and I realized two things. First, their looking at me didn’t hurt, physically, and secondly I realized, hey, this is kind of like being a star…and I’ve been a star ever since.”
Decide now. You choose. There are no excuses.
What decision can you take now to change your life for the better?
Live your life now. There are no limits.
To read his speech click here.
Please follow on Twitter