A woman from Holland Patent who was injured in a car accident at a young age is winning a national award.
Kristen Parisi was in a car accident when she was 5 years old. She says she fell asleep in the car, and when she woke up, she was in the hospital. Due to that accident, Parisi is disabled from the waist down, and permanently in a wheelchair.
"Disability knows no gender, it knows no ethnicity, religion, age, nothing," said Parisi.
In February 2018, Parisi quit her full-time job and now focuses on writing and advocating for people with disabilities.
"I thought maybe sharing my experience through writing and advocacy, it might help other people as well as kind of help myself," Parisi said.
In 2018, Parisi worked on a project with the Today Show called "We Want a Voice." That project is earning her and production team the Gracie Award.
"Its just cool and its very humbling," Parisi said. "I feel very, very, very, very fortunate."
The Gracie Awards are awards presented by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation in America, to celebrate and honor women in the media. This award has been won by people like Barbara Walters, Martha Stewart, and Betty White.
Although Parisi has struggled her whole life, and still does today, she does not let her disability define her. She says her wheelchair is just a tool to get around.
"Some days are really great, and others are terrible," Parisi said. "I'm a person, I'm not my disability, my disability really at the end of the day is only a small fraction of who I am."
Now Parisi is advocating for others with a situation similar to hers, and hoping that they too, do not let their disability define them.
"It would just be great if we got to live in a world where just because you had a disability, didn't mean that somebody was going to look at you different or assume that you couldn't do things."
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