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My Smile Comes from Inside

Stroke victim Gracie Doran, 11, tells people it doesn't matter what a smile looks like on the outside.

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!  

Gracie

Debbie Brackett April 08, 2011 at 01:27 AM
Gracie, I am so proud of you!!!! I am proud to know you and to have been a part of your recovery. I am so glad that you are sharing your story. You are touching so many lives and helping so many people! You go, Gracie O!!!
CW April 08, 2011 at 03:23 AM
Kerry Stewart worded it beautifully. You never cease to amaze us all Gracie with your wisdom and just plain logic! What a gift you bring when you speak to people. God is using that gift you have and look at you reaching people in such an important way. You go girl. I look forward to your article every week now!! Thank you Gracie. Love you honey.
Cat Cunningham April 08, 2011 at 03:38 AM
Gracie, I love reading your articles. You are so very articulate and paint a beautiful picture for others to see! My girls have participated in Ability Awareness days at their school, and I think it is fabulous! We are always afraid to ask when we someone with different abilities, but as you stated, you are no different than the rest of us. Your "ability" to bring awareness to people in such a delicate, warm and welcoming way is awesome! You take the mystery out of who you are and that is wonderful!
andrew April 10, 2011 at 02:25 AM
Gracie, This is very cool. Thank you for being a teacher to your peers, and probably all the adults there too. Keep up the good work.
tricia April 10, 2011 at 06:10 PM
Grace as usual you are AWESOME . I am the proudest Aunt in the world!!!!! Aunt Tricia

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