Tag Archives: disability

A new job, a book, and a wedding!

10616059_10152782372714073_7923268522615505755_nThe last 12 months has brought quite a lot of change.

In September 2014, I started a new job at the Northeast Independent living program. There I began to work with people with disabilities and it brought some of my personal life work full circle. I would receive referrals from the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission then I would work with the people on living independently in the community. This was one of many new transitions that I have been experiencing over the last couple months. As I settled into this new job I also was still settling in to my new home with my boyfriend and the new community we had moved into.

I continued to work on my book. This is been a childhood dream that I had been working on for about three years at that point. In October I finally pushed myself to get it finished. As many of you already know the end of October 2014 I self published my book on Amazon. It is called “The Impossible Only Takes a Little Longer: One Woman’s Story of Determination”. The support that I received with my self publication was amazing my job of two-month did a book signing for me. My social network of friends and professionals spread the word about my book. As the holiday season arrived many people were inspired by the book and bought it as a gift for other friends and family.

Last winter was very hard all the snow and cold kept me from going outside. Work was closed off and and I have a lot of fear about going outside as I wasn’t sure if I would slip and fall and hurt myself. I took the opportunity to learn new cooking and baking recipes. Then I got to work on getting my book into Kindle format. Within a few weeks I succeeded in getting my Kindle formatted book. This was exciting to me as I wanted to be able to have my book in at least one accessible format. As I’ve learned through the years that as much of the bookworm as I was reading a regular book was often difficult with my hand so close to my shoulders.Between my book being available in softcover on Amazon and then in Kindle I thought life couldn’t get any better.

Excited to be at Magika
Excited to be at Magika

February brought so much more transition by boyfriend and my dad started on our new kitchen that was promised to be accessible. The plans were exciting and the accessibility absolutely thrilling. Gone almost 2 weeks without a full kitchen my boyfriend says to me you want to go out to dinner tomorrow night. I quickly agreed and said as long as we can have vegetables. He smiled and said that is not a problem. The following night we went to my favorite restaurant Outback. Just before dessert he kneed down on one knee and asked me to marry him.

I was so surprised and so excited! The next some seven months would bring a lot of planning. We agreed to have a short engagement so on September 27, 2015 we married. It was the most beautiful day. I had long red dress my husband to be wore a kilt the colors of red and black. I walked down the aisle bagpipes and drums. A reception having elements from Princess Bride and Star Wars. It really was the most amazing day of my life!

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October 2015 brings one year since the publication of my book. It has been quite a year as you can see that from above. In my first year I sold 300 books some of that was online, book signings, and family or friend requests. In the next year I hope to get my book out more and use it a teaching tool at perhaps some of the schools. My story is similar to so many people’s stories out there with disabilities. In the sense that they struggled or continue to struggle each day. Society expected less from them and they were always surprised that person succeeded.

Book Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

“The Impossible Only Takes a Little Longer: One Women’s Story of Determination” by author, Sheila Radziewicz

The award winning self advocate and inspirational speaker, Sheila Radziewicz, writes from her heart sharing how she has overcome unimaginable adversity in her life. Highlighted with her beautiful poetry, she teaches us all that “nothing is impossible . . . the impossible only takes a little longer.” Her story is spellbinding! Anyone who seeks inspiration and motivation MUST purchase and read this dynamic journey of her life.

Sheila Radziewicz is not just a self advocate, inspirational speaker, and author she also holds a B.A., as well as a M.A., in criminal justice! Sheila’s newly published book, “The Impossible Only Takes a Little Longer: One Women’s Story of Determination”, is more than just a book. It is a message about ability. It is one example about how living with a disability can be amazing despite society’s challenges. One must purchase this book and experience her undaunted way of achieving so much despite the odds and obstacles society has put before her.  This book makes the perfect gift to anyone you know. It is recommended for teachers  as a means to educate about intolerance and differences. Her story is moving and inspiring, as she talks about her determination to succeed in an able-bodied world.

“The Impossible Only Takes a Little Longer: One Women’s Story of Determination” is a page turner and her story will remain with you always. Her unapologetic frankness will bring you both joy as well as sadness and you will find that her zest for life is contagious! This inspirational book has been published by createspace.  You will find this amazing book in a print version  now available on Amazon. In addition, an Ebook edition is currently in the works.

About the Author: Sheila has been fighting injustices her whole life. After receiving her black belt in Taekwondo she began motivational speaking. Since then, she has spoken to adults and youth nationally and internationally sharing her passion for life.

For more information about Sheila Radziewicz, please visit: www.sheilaradziewicz.com

sharing her passion for life.   

For more information about Sheila Radziewicz, please visit: www.sheilaradziewicz.com

Light, Love, and Positive Energy Series

Sometimes our worlds need to be turned upside down in order for us to receive amazing opportunities. Other times we can receive amazing things by simply thinking positively. Then there is choosing to be happy and therefore happiness just follows you home. The important fact here is that we have the power inside of ourselves to change our present situations. 

 

Focus on Positive things and you will receive positive.

Focus on Negative things and you will receive negative.

 

Changing your thoughts and actions can seem daunting if you let it. A few years ago I read “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne and book really spoke to me. It showed me how I could change my life one action and one thought at a time. The truth of the matter was that I had been living by this motto for most of my life. I just had not consciously realized it.  Growing up with my disability I had accomplished things that most believed was not possible. I choose to believe in myself and I succeed. 

 

You can too!

Medical Advocacy

This past fall I went to a conference in Boston and one of the panels spoke about medical care for people with disabilities. This made me realize that as a person with a disability it was important for me to stay up to date on my medical care. This promoted me to make my annual exam. I realized something that was not happening for me when I went in for regular doctors appointment was getting my blood pressure checked. This particular task is a bit of a project for me as I do not have arms and need to have my blood pressure down on my leg. When I was in graduate school I had a horrible experience with nurses who did not how to take blood pressure on me. And even worse were trying to make me go on medication when they didn’t know what they were doing. As it turns out they were not taking my blood pressure correctly and that is why it was perceived for me to have high blood pressure. That experience taught me to educate myself more about blood pressure and doctors responsibilities.

After that I did educate my doctors about blood pressure and how to do it on me but for some reason in seven years my blood pressure had been taken only once. I don’t have concerns about it but high blood pressures is in my family so it really should be happening especially since it’s a standard thing to do at an annual exam. Apparently though it is not a standard thing to do if you have a disability. So I went for my doctors appointment this week and I told them you haven’t taken my blood pressure in six years. The nurse was apologetic and then proceeded to justify why they hadn’t done it. They probably were too embarrassed to ask you how. The bigger question for me is why are they not educated. I except that with my disability I tend to have to teach the world how I do stuff or how things get done for me and I guess at a doctors appointment it’s no different. That day I taught the nurse how one does blood pressure on a leg. Explained to her that you can’t just use any cuff and I need to be laying down otherwise I will probably have high blood pressure.

For me this is then just a minor thing to have to deal with but other people with disabilities deal with more major issues. It is 2013 people with disabilities are not getting adequate medical care because of ignorance and lack of education. When I listened to the panel on medical advocacy it was outrageous the things that have happened to other people with disabilities around medical care .At this point in my life I’m thankful for the amazing medical care that I’ve received. I am also thankful that I have the ability to advocate for myself and have been able to avoid some major issues. We need to remember the doctors don’t know everything and as a patient we have the right to question them. They need to be able to give us informed information about our care. They also need to be providing us with the same care that they get every other one of their patients regardless if that means they need new equipment or education.

Thrive: Empowering Young Women with Disabilities

Massachusetts Easter Seals piloted a program this weekend in Boston called Thrive: Empowering Young Women with Disabilities. The program paired young women with disabilities with women mentors with disabilities. The program touched on a number of different themes that impact young women with disabilities. Some of the workshops included impact ability, Thrive against ableism, media’s depiction of people with disabilities, and health care advocacy. The keynote speaker was Harilyn Rousso and she read excerpts of her book “Don’t Call me Inspirational-A Disabled Feminist Talks Back”. As a woman with a disability myself I was so energized hearing pieces her book and am very excited for it to come out on January 31, 2013. Some of the other programs and individuals involved in the Thrive program this weekend included Impact: Ability, EPIC empowering people for inclusive communities, Ms. Wheelchair Massachusetts Patti Panzarino 2012 and Ms. Wheelchair Massachusetts Santara Sen 2010.

The Thrive program is something that I wish that I had as a young woman with a disability. Growing up with a disability I didn’t have that many individuals in my life with disabilities and most of my mentors were able-bodied individuals. This program gives a safe place for young women with disabilities ask the hard questions, to figure out what they’re supposed to know and to connect with others with disabilities like themselves.

I tell you being a part of this program was amazing. I got the opportunity to spend a weekend with some of the most strong confident, independent thinkers, empowered, determined, supported, beautiful women with disabilities. I definitely hope that this program is one that Easter Seals continues to support.

My World

I navigate my world unlike you

And yet you watch me with intent

For years I have been baffled by this

Why are you interested in my world?

I see the world as a puzzle

Each task I work out in my mind before

I watch you to see how I should do it differently

A two-step task for you; is six or eight for me

Is your watch of judgement or of wonder?

Your eyes portray a mixture of both

Why does my world hold your interest?

Is the judgement due to fear or ignorance

You hold no understanding and yet you want to

And so you assume the truth

You hold silent when you could speak your questions

That silence sees my world as difficult and unpleasant

When it is simple and beautiful

The wonder you hold keeps my curiosity

Your excitement grows as you watch my steps

Silence fills the room; Did I miss something

No you are merely watching me

Your mind is full of questions and they are wonderful

My answers give truth to the puzzle of my life

No longer must you wonder how; for I am here to show and tell

I saw myself in my own world

And I watched with wonder

How interesting I found the tasks

The puzzle in my mind; I now can see

I watch with intent, what happens next

How interesting it is, I have watched you for years but not myself

I navigate my world unlike you

You watch me with intent

Now I understand this

My world is different, full of surprise and adventure

Why wouldn’t you want to come and see!

The 4th World Youth Taekwondo Camp


Over the last week I have had the chance to experience some fantastic opportunities. I was invited back to South Korea to speak at the 4th World  Youth Taekwondo Camp. There were approximately 300 people from 30 different countries at the camp. Through out the week I was approached by many youth who had seen my story on television and were inspired. I was part of a special lecture series and had the chance to inspire youth.  I had several encounters with the local media far more than I ever expected. I made friendships with Olympic medalists and trained with Taekwondo Masters from all over.  I was also was reminded of my own limitations despite my determination to succeed. Image

Our, myself and Danielle, travel to the camp was long as we had a 14 hour air flight to Korea and then a three-hour bus ride to our hotel in Muju, South Korea. Upon arrival we went straight to sleep for we had a full day training the next day. The arrangements that we had in Muju were beautiful the view of the mountains from the room was amazing. Since we got in so late, breakfast was our first true opportunity to meet the other participates. We meet a mother and son from Jordan and got to hear her son’s journey to the camp which was not the easiest. I also found out that my story had made a difference in his life.

Before we knew it we had arrived at the training facility and gathered together to train.

Throughout the day I had the opportunity to train with the participates. At times I joined the students and trained within the group this was enjoyable and at other times I assisted with the instruction of the students. We did a stretch and kicking drilling (Kyorugi) together. During the first training day I meet an olympic medalist, Tran Hieu Ngan the silver medalist at the 2000 Sydney Olympic games, she was extremely friendly and we hung out the rest of the week. I was also asked to speak with the press. This was quite the experience as I sat in a room with about ten reporters it was like I was having my own press conference. I was in awe about how my story had impacted so many people all over the world.

The following day we had the special lecture series and had the chance to experience Korean Traditional Culture.


Through the special lecture series I was given the chance to speak to the participates about my story. I was also able to inspire hope and enthusiasm in the youth. As speaker I always try to inspire my audience in finding their inner strength. I spoke about how we all have our own challenges and with those we are all here today. Taekwondo is a sport that gives opportunity to the many and what we learn in Taekwondo we can then take and apply to all the parts of our lives.

It really was an honor to speak at the camp. I feel that I made a difference in the lives of these youth. I hope the media coverage that occurred during my visit helps to inspire and reach many more in South Korea and all over the world.

After the lecture series we were given the chance to experience Korean traditional culture. We went to the cultural center and had a traditional meal. We also had a chance to learn about a traditional wedding and Korean drums. We also had a chance to visit a traditional village called Jeonju Hanok. I really enjoyed seeing this cultural side of South Korea. As we were leaving the village there was a presentation of the lion mask dance. This was great to watch as it included the drumming we were shown at the cultural center. 

The following day we returned to our training. In the morning there was Kyorugi training again and I took this time rest as we have had a busy schedule. In the afternoon we had Poomsae (Forms) training during this time I did a demonstration of a Poomsae to the group and joined the instruction. I really enjoyed the Poomsae part of the training. Unfortunately,  at the end of the Poomsae my knee gave out on me. This stopped me from being involved with the Kyukpa (breaking). We also took a trip to the construction site of Taekwondowon and it was amazing to the models and picture come alive.

In the evening our day of culture continued as we had a K-POP dance performance. Then the youth presented folk costumes and had a talent show from their native country. At the end we the demonstration of the flying pungdeung where we wrote our hopes and dreams and let them fly in the sky.

On our last full day we packed everything up and moved ourselves to Seoul. We were on our way to do a Poomsae and Kyukpa demonstration at the Olympic Park. When we arrived they gave me a new dobok with the sleeves removed. We did a short practice and then were given a break. Things were going well and then my knee gave out and I had lots of pain. It was so bad that I couldn’t bend my knee and barely walk. My friend Danielle was there for me and helped advocate for me. I had managed to do everything else was doing without problem but my body had hit its limit. However, within a few minutes a Mater from Spain was by my side and was massaging and using pressure to help my knee. I was given ice and told to sit. Within five minutes I was standing without pain and was able to join the demonstration of the Poomse.I was glad to be about to join the demonstration. However the knee pain did return and I had to rest at the hotel for the rest of the afternoon. It was not a decision that I like , but it was a needed and responsible one. Growing up with a disability I have learned the importance of having support and knowing when to stop. On this trip I had different support people but one stand out my friend Danielle. Danielle was there as a companion and gave so much support without question. She carry things for me so I would last longer and helped me with the smaller things that happen throughout the trip. It was her support that made a difference to me.

We ended the week with a final dinner. During this time I had the chance to talk with the youth from all the different countries. I found out that my story has been published in a magazine called I Love Taekwondo Global Magazine. I had an amazing time on my second trip to South Korea and I look forward to a chance to return again.

Easter Seals-Ready, Set, Go!

Easter Seals Team Hoyt Rising Star Award is given to a person who shows determination to break down barriers facing people with disabilities. This year I had the honor to be presented with this award at the Ready, Set, Go event. The evening was wonderful. Barry Nolan was the Emcee. He had great remarks about Dick and Rick Hoyt. I only recently have learned about the Hoyt Team and was even more inspired by their story after hearing Barry. Then there was the unveiling of the Team Hoyt Portrait which was amazing. Later I was presented with the Rising Star Award. Kirk Joslin, Easter Seals, presented me with the award along with a few friends of mine. I have been a friend and mentor to the Perrino family as their son also has TARs. I was blown away by his remarks regarding my life. I have to say I was a bit teary eyed as I was given the award.

I was honored to receive this award. As I said that night I have spent my life just being me and never imagined that my life would inspire so many people. I spoke to the Ready, Set, Go audience the only way I could and that was from my heart. I told them how amazing my family and friends have always been to me and how they made difference in my life. I also told them about some of the amazing experiences that I have had working with Massachusetts Easter Seals.

My friend Remon Jourdan then read an original poem called “An Honorable Equation” which was an opening for the next award. EMC Corporation received the Team Hoyt Award because they have determination to break down barriers facing people with disabilities. As a corporation they are ensuring that people disabilities have equal opportunities to work.

The whole evening was awesome and I’m honored to have been a part of the Ready, Set, Go evening.

“Delightful Sheila”

Delightful Sheila

The documentary was aired in S. Korea the week of February 19, 2012 and people involved with making were pleased with out come. I received my copies the second week of March 2012. I was very excited to watch it. I was curious as to what made the final cut and what did not. There was a lot of filming done and in the end maybe a third of it made it into the documentary.

Upon watching the film there was a lot of dubbing done to the English interviews. I had though they would keep our parts English with Korean subtitles. Perhaps that would of been to much for the Korean viewers. Just as they had planned there were four themes that my personal life including family and friends, my professional life including my work at HAWC and my motivational speaking, Tae Kwon Do accomplishments, and my trip to South Korea which were put into five episodes. I now have my own theme music which is pretty cool! I was amused to see that they kept me being annoyed with them at dinner one night. I looked at the camera a told him I was tired, sore, hungry, and cranky and I would talk to him later. Then there was a conversation with nephew when we were trying to get him to tell his name to the camera and he says he was busy. Very cute I was happy to see that made the film that was so him and he was so cute. I was really please to see that Shriners Hospital for Children was captured in a really good light as they have always been an important part of my life. Watching myself in this film and others has really given me a new perspective on how I do things and why people are sometimes amazing by what I do.

I have been slowly sharing the film with friends and family. I have a friend making some copies for me so I can lend them out. He is also trying to take out the dubbing into Korean of the English interviews to allow my friends and family to be able to understand. Just the other night I had a movie with a bunch of and one of friends who speaks Korean came over to translate some of the Korean. This was a lot of I finally got to understand what was being said by people in the Korean episode after I spoke or demonstrated my Tae Kwon Do. It turns out people were inspired by me! As I get better with video editing I hope to put parts of it on my website or youtube.

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