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Emily's Story

Looking beyond the difference

Anyone looking on can see that she is struggling, but she is trying her best regardless. The Cross Country course is long, but she keeps going. Her mum has a tear in her eye; her daughter has proven the doctors wrong. They said she would never walk, never run - but just look at her now. She doesn’t let anything, or anyone stop her whether it be rock climbing, horse riding, even going on the flying fox. The sky is literally the limit for this girl......

This is the story of my younger sister’s life. Lauren is ten, and she has Spina Bifida, but looking at her doing anything, you can’t even tell. Her “can do” attitude has got her so far in life already. ‘I know that I’m different from other kids, and can’t do everything they can, but I always give everything a go,’ she says to me, as she gets ready for the school Swimming Carnival. Lauren is great at swimming; she is a star at back stroke in particular. Even though the playing field is never even, she is not down hearted when she starts a race a bit closer to the finish line. She knows that one day she will get to race against people of similar ability.

Lauren’s whole life has been about someone telling her she can’t do something, then having a go at proving them wrong - even if she needs a bit of help on the way! When she was invited to a roller blading party, she just came up to me and asked,”Can you come to the party and help me?” Roller blading, (easier than roller skating!) was a fun experience for both Lauren and me, trying to figure out how to do it with just one person helping her, instead of two. I know that we will both be roller blading again.

Lauren doesn’t even know it, but through her whole life, she has been teaching people to accept difference. There has been many a time when Lauren and I go shopping together, and people stare at Lauren, just because she is wearing AFO’s (Ankle Foot Orthosis), a type of leg splint that helps her walk. She just accepts this and carries on shopping, knowing that they were just curious, like all humans.

The one main thing that the whole human race needs to work on, and what Lauren has taught me, is learning to see the person not the difference of religion, skin colour, or the way someone acts. So, just remember the next time you see someone who may not look, or act like you, keep in mind that they can’t help being like that, God made us the way He wanted us. He may have had something in mind for us when He created us. People just need to learn to look beyond the difference, to see the beautiful person inside.