> Posted by Danielle Donza
I recently cried my way through the book Eleven Seconds, the true life story of Travis Roy, a Boston University hockey player who becomes paralyzed within eleven seconds of his first college hockey game. As a Vermonter and a hockey player, the book hit close to home in many ways, but more than anything it made me truly appreciate the importance of the Center’s Financial Inclusion for Persons with Disabilities (PWD) program, which promotes equal and fair access to quality financial products and services for persons with disabilities.
I knew not to expect a happy ending but was surprised to find myself feeling that the saddest part of Travis’s story is not his tragic accident but rather the difficulty he faces in trying to reintegrate into society as a person with a disability, especially since the latter seems preventable. Beyond the obvious mobility and independence issues, Travis struggles more with the fact that he is simply ignored in his wheelchair. Once the “big man on campus” as a scholarship hockey star, when he returns to school, no one even acknowledges him. It almost seems easier for Travis to overcome his physical limitations than his societal ones. Even when Travis gains celebrity-like status because of his accident, he still feels invisible.
Reading about Travis’s struggles made me so thankful that the Center is playing a role in addressing the exclusion that persons with disabilities face every day. Travis lives in the United States and has received an outpouring of financial support after his accident. But what about the other 785 million people around the world, nearly 15 percent of humanity, who have a disability; of whom 80 percent live in developing countries? I became overwhelmed thinking: Who is helping to integrate them into society? Who is empowering them to find their voice? Who is giving them the financial access they need to survive and live independent lives?
And then I realized we are and felt tremendously proud of the Center’s work. I hope you will take 11 seconds to find out more about the Financial Inclusion for Persons with Disabilities program.
Have you read?
21 Questions About Creating Financial Inclusion for Persons with Disabilities
The Smart Campaign Enshrines Non-discrimination in Core Principles
What to Do When the Mice Eat the Money, or, ‘Where Are the Non-subsidized Financial Services for Persons with Disabilities?’