My Life Matters

“ I would rather die than lose my sight.” “I don’t know how you do it, I couldn’t.” People’s biggest fear after dying is to lose their vision and go totally blind. I have pondered this for a while now, I hear it so often I think that people think it is a compliment when they say things like “you are amazing I could never do what you do”. I do not take this as a compliment.

The fact that people would rather die than live a life without sight says so much about how people who are blind or partially sighted are viewed in society.

Recently there was a mass killing of people with disabilities because someone thought that people with disabilities should be euthanized. Why ? I feel like there should be a more complex question that I am asking myself but I just keep coming up with why ? I have been utterly speechless for days now. It is just unbelievably horrific. I feel so much pain and sympathy for all of those that lost their lives and their families and loved ones.

I have faced some pretty harsh criticism over the last year because I am in the public eye, and because I have a disability and I am in the public eye people assume I have no feelings. People have sent me emails and messages on social media after running in our provincial election like “you didn’t really think they would elect a blind person.” or “you were simply a pawn for a sympathy vote.” or “you could never be in political office you are blind, you would never be able to serve the people of our province.” or the best one “ who are you kidding, what are they supposed to hire a interpreter just for you at every meeting ?”

I have not said anything about these comments because I feel like 1. they are all ignorant uneducated people who have bigger issues than me being blind and 2. I have pretty thick skin and I do not have time for people like this. However with the lack of media coverage of the incident in Japan where so many people lost their lives simply because they had a disability, I feel like I need to speak up and show people the way others view disability.

My life has no less value than yours or anyone else’s simply because I have a disability. It is not a death sentence, I am not miserable and living a horrible life. I am however; a mother, a sister, a wife, a friend, a volunteer, a writer, an advocate, successful, happy and excited about life. Now why is being blind so horrible ? I feel like the only thing that is that bad about being blind is other people attitude towards my disability.

Until Next Time
Ashley and Rick

Proving them wrong !

Hello Everyone !

I have been very busy over the last few weeks, running in the Provincial Election here in Saskatchewan. This was something that I could never have imagined doing a few years ago but I am so glad that I was able to do it.

When I was approached to run in the election, I really doubted my ability to do so. After some consideration and speaking to many people about whether this was something I should do or wanted to do. I decided that I wanted to take it on, and use my voice for something good. I wanted to try and make changes and be a part of those changes. I also wanted to represent the disablunspecifieded community.

The campaign process was intense and it was definitely a roller coaster of emotions. I put everything I had into the campaign. The hardest thing about the whole campaign was having complete strangers asking me how I was going to be an MLA if I was blind ? as well as people treating me like I was not serious or did not have the ability to be running in the election. I got a lot of comments like you are so brave and this must be so hard for you. I even had a few people who would speak to the people I had with me rather than talking to me.

This is one of the reasons that I wanted to run in the election, to help prove these stereotypes wrong. I have said many times that my vision does not dictate how I live my life and it will never determine what I can and cannot do.

I did not win the election but I had a great campaign and ended up getting quite a few votes and not doing too badly. This was an amazing experience that showed me and hopefully the people around me that disability does not mean lack of ability. This is also not the end for me. I will continue to fight the stigmas and stereotypes of blindness. I will continue to tell my story in the hopes it will help anyone who is going through vision loss and feeling like they can not live life to it’s fullest.

Until Next Time !

Ashley and Rick