Thursday, July 4, 2013
Freedom from disability: A teen with cerebral palsy sails the English Channel alone
Today, Independence Day, I'm celebrating the spirit of Natasha Lambert. She's a British 16-year-old who's an accomplished sailor, and who happens to have athetoid cerebral palsy that affects her limbs and speech. This week she made a solo crossing of the English Channel using only her mouth to control her yacht, Miss Isle Too.
Natasha finished the 25-mile trip from Boulogne, France to Dover, Kent in under five hours, conquering fog and swells up to six feet high—and arriving two hours ahead of schedule. She sipped and puffed through a straw lining a helmet to steer her ship; her father, an electrician, built the device.
Natasha's trip raised money for three different charities. Last year, her solo sail around the Isle of Wight, where she lives, brought in more than $12,000 for charity.
As her mother said, "When she is sailing Natasha is able to experience freedom and excitement and most importantly make decisions which she is unable to do in her everyday life.... For her it's all about leaving her wheelchair and feeling free."
Love that. Our kids may have disabilities that prevent them from moving freely and speaking freely, but their spirits are plenty free. And that drive, determination and inner strength can propel them to do amazing things.
I tweeted congrats to Natasha. Her words are ones for our kids to live by:
Images: Screen shots/Royal Yachting Association video
Posted by Ellen Seidman at 6:40 AM