On March 22, I was a speaker at Canyon Vista Elementary School's Ability Awareness Day.
The school had many speakers, including Vince Maggio, a man who lost his legs in a car accident, and John Maclean, who brought his service dog, Frosty.
They also had booths that taught kids about being hearing impaired, with ADD (attention deficit disorder) and with food allergies. One of the CVES parents, Trish Sant, was in charge of the event.
An adult stroke survivor named Lisa Satchfield was with me. I was really glad they called it Ability Awareness, because it's about what we can do, not about what we can't do.
I talked to the kids about what happened to me. I talked to them about the stroke but wanted to mostly focus on how hard I worked to get better. My mom and I made a poster board with pictures from the past year and a half. Some pictures were taken at the hospital, but most were of me doing things like any other kid.
I really wanted to make the point that I am just like any other kid. I wanted them to know that I never gave up on getting better. Everyone has challenges, and you need to be a good friend to others and treat everyone equally.
I also talked about how I am trying to do good things with what happened to me and to make a difference in the world. They asked a lot of good questions. One boy asked me about my smile. I told him that my smile comes from inside and it doesn't matter what it looks like on the outside.
I am glad they felt comfortable enough to ask me questions. A lot of kids came up to me and gave me hugs and told me they were proud of me and how brave I am. Some kids even drew me pictures and made me cards.
I really enjoyed talking to the kids and meeting the teachers and staff. Everyone was so nice, and I was glad to be a part of this special day. I even got to stay and eat lunch in the teachers lounge. That was pretty cool!