“My life in a wheelchair is like anyone else’s life: normal!”
Dana likes to be active and independent throughout the day: “I do the laundry, take the dryer off the balcony, sweep, cook, go shopping, go to the post office, wherever I need to go.”
She has a way of making all these seem simple. She does all while being natural and loving life, two of her main features.
For Dana, who is now 36 years old, the fact that she uses a wheelchair is just a fact, something among other things. She dealt with this since ever, she does not know other personal reality, and her family has always treated her like they treated Dana’s siblings. They always encouraged her to do follow her dreams.
Dana has not been able to walk since birth. “I never considered myself different. The children, like any other children, discriminated against me, shouted after me, but I always felt like I lacked nothing. My brothers were playing with me and that was enough for me. I only went to school for four years, because my parents couldn’t take me to the classes, as the school was far away from our home. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find teachers to come home. But I learned English on my own and I learned all the rest with my brothers. My mother always told me that there is no such thing as “can’t”, so I learned to do a lot of things on my own. ”
Dana met Ioan on the internet 14 years ago. At that time, she lived with her mother and siblings in Harghita County. Ioan visited her and was impressed, as he says, with “the love of life she spreads around”. They got married and moved to Tălmaciu together. In their house, Dana left her marks everywhere – every step of the way you come across a positive quote, a cheerful sticker. Dana feels good here and leads a natural, “unspectacular” life, as she puts it. People are friendly, they don’t make her feel different.
She likes to go fishing and she always releases the fish caught back in the water. Dana does not miss any opportunity to spend time outdoors and she enjoys the colors of each season. She loves to go to basketball and football matches, where she supports the local teams.Since 2015, she has been using the wheelchair she received from Motivation, which replaced an old, much larger, heavy and inappropriate mobility equipment. She quickly learned to handle the new wheelchair, with the help of the team at Motivation, during the active rehabilitation camp she attended. Since then, she has gained freedom and independence. She enjoys participating in sports events, along with #TeamMotivation, to prove once again that abilities matter.
As her husband, Ioan, says, “With her, I learned an important thing: to help only if I am asked to.”
Take a look below, at some pictures showing a day from Dana’s life.
The story of Dana was written within the project “Advocacy for community access for wheelchair users”, implemented by Motivation Romania Foundation in partnership with Segoia Association, with financial support of Active Citizens Fund Romania, a program funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the SEE Grants 2014-2021. The project aims to support the social inclusion of people with disabilities by improving the mobility and health of wheelchair users.
More information about the project can be found by accessing the link https://motivation.ro/en/abilities-and-rights-matter/.
Working together for an inclusive Europe.
Story written by: Bogdan Dinca, Erika Garnier
Pictures: Bogdan Dinca