AbledWarriors-American-Veterans-Disabled-For-Life-Memorial

POSTED ON October 6th  - POSTED IN AbledPeople, AbledWarriors
AbledWarriors banner shows a disabled veteran with an amputated leg standing with a crutch while saluting against the backdrop of the curve of the Earth seen from space with a sunrise glowing around the veterans silhouette and a global map showing as a partially dissolved backdrop.
Abled Warriors post banner shows sketches of the American Veterans Disabled For Life Memorial dedicated on October 5, 2014 in Washington, D.C. A stone wall bears the name of the inscribed into it in the background while we see two men observing an eternal flame in the granite star centerpiece of the memorial while we see the left profile of an Armed Forces officer and another man in the center foreground looking off to the left. Someone in a wheelchair is sitting further to the left, looking at the reflecting pool. The headline reads: AbledWarriors: American Veterans Disabled For Life Memorial: The Dedication.

THE MEMORIAL

Photo from the Disabled Veteran's Life Memorial Foundation, Inc. shows an area view of the site for the American veterans Disabled For Life memorial in Washington, D.C. The United States Capitol building is seen in the background.

Through the juxtaposition of granite and glass, The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial conveys a combination of strength and vulnerability, loss and renewal.

At this sacred spot, all of us—sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, wives, husbands and friends—have the opportunity to learn the important lessons of courage, sacrifice, tenacity, loyalty and honor by bearing witness to the experiences of our heroes who are disabled.

The focal point of the Memorial is a star-shaped fountain, its surface broken only by a single ceremonial flame. A grove of trees stands sentry beside the reflecting pool, signifying the persistence of hope.

Dedicated to both the living and the deceased—a setting for coming together or quiet meditation—the Memorial holds a special place in the hearts of all Americans, and serves as a never-ending reminder to all of the cost of human conflict.

(Source: The American Veterans Disabled For Life Memorial)

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THE HISTORY

17 Years In The Making

 

AbledWarriors photo shows philanthropist Lois Pope with Former U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs, the late Jesse Brown.

 

It all began in 1997. Lois Pope, a prominent philanthropist with a strong interest in veterans’ causes, contacted Jesse Brown, then Secretary of Veterans Affairs in the Clinton Administration. In turn, Jesse put Lois in touch with Art Wilson, National Adjutant of the Disabled American Veterans.  Lois indicated that she wanted to sit down with Art to discuss the many issues facing disabled veterans and their families.  During their initial meeting, Lois mentioned that she had noticed all the different memorials around the city.  She then asked Art the question that became the inspiration: “Where is it in Washington D.C. that we honor disabled veterans with a memorial?” Art’s answer: “There isn’t one.” Lois’ response: “We need to change that.”

Several months later Jesse, Art and Lois met together to discuss the idea of honoring disabled veterans with a memorial in Washington, D.C. This memorial would be designed to pay tribute to all disabled veterans, past, present and future, who have served or will serve in our nation’s military forces.  Knowing they would need authorization from Congress in order to build a memorial, they formed a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization, and The Disabled Veterans’ Life Memorial Foundation, Inc. was born. The initial volunteer Board of Directors of the Foundation included Lois Pope, Chairman, and  Art Wilson, President,  and two additional volunteer members who were brought aboard for their tireless advocacy and leadership on veteran issues: from California, Ken Musselmann, Director; and from South Dakota, Gene Murphy, Treasurer. Secretary Jesse Brown was the Foundation’s first Executive Director.

All memorials in Washington are subject to the rigid standards of the U.S. Commemorative Works Act [40 USC Chapter 89 – National Capital Memorials and Commemorative Works]. Because the Act limits commemorative works honoring “… individuals or groups of individuals … until after the 25th anniversary of the death of the last surviving member of the group,” this Memorial, which specifically included living disabled veterans, required a special amendment to the Act.  The Act proscribes a rigorous process – “24 Steps for Establishing a Memorial in the Nation’s Capital” – which begins with authorization by the U.S. Congress.

After establishing the Foundation, Lois, Art and Jesse worked together to draft legislation to present before Congress. The final draft was introduced to Congress in October of 1998, and co-sponsored by Senators John McCain (AZ) and Max Cleland (GA), and Representatives Sam Johnson (TX) and John Murtha (PA). It requested that Congress “authorize the DVLMF to establish a memorial on Federal lands in the District of Columbia or its environs to honor veterans who became disabled while serving in the U.S. armed forces.”  Lois, Art and Jesse made numerous trips to Capitol Hill to promote the Memorial mission with legislators, and everyone they met with had the same response: they embraced the idea and were committed to getting it moved through committee and approved. Finally, on October 24, 2000, it was signed into law by President Clinton and became Public Law 106-348.

With the law in place, the Foundation focused on the vital challenges of the “24 Step” process:

  Create broad public awareness of the Memorial and its mission;

  Develop fundraising programs to secure the necessary financial support from individuals, corporations and organizations (Public Law 106-348 specifically stated that no Federal funds would be provided for the Memorial);

  Select a site for the Memorial;

  Convene a Design Competition and select the Memorial designer.

Over the ensuing years, the Foundation successfully executed each of the “24 Steps” leading to the planned dedication of The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial in October 2014. After dedication, the Memorial will be transferred to the National Park Service with its mission fulfilled.

 

(Source: The American Veterans Disabled For Life Memorial)

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THE DESIGN


AbledWarriors photo shows one of the early ink pen sketches of the design concept for the American Veterans Disabled For Life Memorial designed by Michael Vergason of Michael Vergason Landscape Architects. It shows part of the outside wall and the ceremonial flame in the center of the granite star.

It’s not very often that an architect has the opportunity to leave a lasting legacy in a prominent, public setting. But that is precisely what happened to Michael Vergason, of Michael Vergason Landscape Architects, based in Alexandria, Virginia.

On Veterans Day in 2002, the Disabled Veterans’ Life Memorial Foundation launched a design competition for The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial. Twenty renowned architecture and landscape architecture firms were invited to participate. Michael Vergason Landscape Architects was selected the following July, based on the design concept that is now coming to life within sight of the U.S. Capitol.

Vergason, whose work can also be seen at the National Cathedral, the U.S. Supreme Court, Monticello, the U.S. Cemetery at Omaha Beach in Normandy, France, and his alma mater, the University of Virginia, envisioned a hallowed place amid the bustle of the surrounding Washington streets. His design was meant expressly for its audience – disabled veterans, their loved ones and caretakers – who would now have a place for commemoration and quiet reflection within a grove of trees framed by granite and glass walls, punctuated by a ceremonial flame and a reflecting pool.

This approach to design is a hallmark of Vergason’s firm. Every project is process driven, beautifully detailed and seamlessly integrated into existing conditions, deriving inspiration from the uniqueness of a place and defining the salient characteristics throughout the seasons. Founded on the belief that landscape is a poetic, humanizing discipline responding to the fundamental human need for connection to the surrounding world, Michael Vergason Landscape Architects designs lasting places through the creative and rigorous study of the site and its context.

Given this guiding philosophy, the Memorial’s physical and symbolic centerpiece is a star-shaped fountain, embedded into a broad reflecting pool. Used throughout American history to honor, recognize, reward and represent our highest aspirations, this strong focal point structures the site. At its center, the ceremonial flame – the fire – embodies the elemental forces of injury, loss and renewal, and emerges from the water as a reminder of the hope that springs from perseverance in the face of adversity.

And then, standing sentry-like alongside the reflecting pool, are a grove of trees to provide dappled shade and comfort along the Memorial’s main paths. These paths are lined by the glass and granite walls of Vergason’s design, each representing the strength and fragility of the human spirit.

Experienced all together, these elements create a unique and respectful setting to reflect on – and honor – the great sacrifices of America’s disabled veterans…yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Read more about the design elements at the following links:

ARCHITECTURE
ENGINEERING
INTERPRETIVE CONTENT
GLASS PANELS
BRONZE SCULPTURES
REFLECTING POOL
CEREMONIAL FLAME
LANDSCAPING
STONE INSCRIPTIONS
PROFILES

 

(Source: The American Veterans Disabled For Life Memorial)

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THE MEANING

The American Veterans Disabled For Life Memorial will mean many things for many people, especially the individuals personally touched by disability, their comrades and their families and friends.

These short summaries are excerpted from longer recollections by three members of the Board of Directors of the Disabled Veteran’s Life Memorial Foundation, Inc. You can read their full essays by clicking on this link.

 

Dennis Joyner – Secretary | US Army, 9th Infantry Division, Bronze Star and Purple Heart

Mr. Joyner served in the U.S. Army, 9th Infantry Division, in Vietnam. While on patrol in June 1969 in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, he became a triple amputee due to a land mine explosion.

What the Memorial Means to Me

Finally, a Memorial that will recognize and remember the lives of pain and suffering that I and my fellow disabled veterans have had to endure.  A Memorial that stands to honor the sacrifices forced upon my parents, my wife and my children.  A Memorial that will remove those haunting words I relive every day that I screamed on the jungle floor of the Mekong Delta in South Vietnam, “Let Me Die,” as I visualized the loss of both my legs and my arm.  Finally, a sense of satisfaction knowing what I gave, and my family and I continue to give, will be forever remembered.

REMEMBER….the sound of my cries and visualize the loss of both of my legs and my arm as I lay wounded on the jungle floor in South Vietnam.

REMEMBER….the sound of my mother and father’s hesitant footsteps on the wooden floor of the Army Hospital the first time they came to visit me.

REMEMBER….the pain and suffering that I and so many other disabled veterans endure for our FREEDOM.

REMEMBER….as you stand view the American Veterans Disabled For Life Memorial, we did it for you.

Finally, a Memorial that provides me a place to reflect back on my life as a disabled veteran.

Hearing my mother so often talk about the fear she had within as she walked through the hall of Valley Forge Army Hospital on her way to see me for that first time after losing my legs and arm. Being told how my father angrily responded that I would be fine after a friend told him it was a shame what happened to me.  And after being excited to receive artificial legs at age 21, only to later realize I would be more mobile living my life in a wheelchair.  And what did my adult son mean when he told my wife to keep an eye on our daughter because being my father’s child is not easy?

Yes, this is my Memorial for me to reflect and remember my life as one who gave three limbs defending the freedoms we so dearly cherish and for all those who live it with me.

It is a Memorial that will provide those whose lives haven’t been affected by the ongoing consequences war causes to understand that war, for some, lasts a lifetime.

Click here to read Mr. Joyner’s full essay

 

Diane Musselmann – Director | Widow of Kenneth G. Musselman – Director, U.S. Army, Co. B 46th Infantry, 198th Light Infantry Brigade, Americal Division, and received both the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

Kenneth Musselmann served with the U.S. Army Americal Division in Vietnam where a land mine explosion and gunshot wounds resulted in the amputation of both his legs.

What the Memorial Means to Me

This Memorial means reaching a dream of Kenny’s.  It means remembering all the sacrifices that so many have made and have gone unnoticed by our country.  Soldiers are injured and life goes on, except, life is never the same.  Whether you can see someone’s disability or not, the pain never leaves.  The day the Memorial is dedicated, my family and I will be there to represent Kenny and stand for him.  I know he will be standing proud, too.

Click here to read Mrs. Musselmann’s full essay

 

Roberto “Bobby” Barrera – Director |  U.S. Marine Corps, Purple Heart Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal and Combat Action Ribbon.

Mr. Barrera enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in February 1969 and while serving in Vietnam, he was seriously burned when enemy forces exploded a 500-pound land mine beneath his armored personnel carrier.

What the Memorial Means to Me

The Memorial is a direct reflection of my journey of the last forty-four years.  Initially, I asked a question common to many disabled veterans, “Why me God?”  I experienced a lot of anger at not having an answer to that question.  I suffered.  My family suffered.  I needed some purpose as to my existence.  Through love and compassion my anger was transformed into hope.  That hope became a spirit of service.  Through service to others I found my purpose in life.  This Memorial is my country’s gift to me, a gift of that same love and compassion that nurtured me and carried me during the darkest period of my life.  This Memorial is a reflection of who I am today.  It is a Memorial of healing.  It is a Memorial of hope.  It is a Memorial of service, a Memorial of my service to my country.

Click here to read Mr. Barrera’s full essay

AbledPeople link banner shows a photo of philanthropist Lois Pope standing with her hands behind her backs she stands between the reflecting pool and a glass panel that features a photograph of a soldier and a quotation at the new American Veterans Disabled For Life Memorial in Washington , D.C. The headline reads: AbledPeople: Lois Pope: A 16 year quest to honor disabled veterans and a champion of 'Life' at 81. Click here to go to the post.
AbledWarriors photo shows a wide shot of the invited audience looking across the star-shaped fountain at the VIP stage where Lois Pope and Art Wilson and other members of their Foundation listen to President Obama's remarks at the dedication of the American Veterans Disabled For Life Memorial in Washington DC.

The ‘Force Majeure’ Behind The Memorial

There are two chance encounters that planted the seeds of what later germinated into the inspiration for The American Veterans Disabled For Life Memorial.

The first occurred in the 1960’s when Lois Pope, a former Broadway singer and TV Commercial model, visited injured Vietnam War veterans recovering at a hospital in New York, and when she reached out to take the hand of a wounded soldier as she sang ‘Somewhere‘ from ‘West Side Story‘, she discovered he didn’t have one. It was a stark, shocking moment that brought home the horrors of war to a young woman who described herself as ‘naive’ and ‘clueless’ up ’til then.

The second occurred many years later as Lois Pope visited the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C., when she observed a disabled veteran in a wheelchair. She asked a park ranger where the memorial for disabled veterans was. “There isn’t one”, he answered.

Those two chance encounters combined to set in motion what would become a 16 year journey to make the Memorial a reality.  Mrs. Pope and her Foundations, established from her inheritance after the death of her husband Generoso Pope, Jr., the founder of the National Enquirer,  contributed over $10 million to the project and helped to raise another $80 million to underwrite the costs of getting legislation approved, and then designing and constructing the Memorial.

These many years later, her determination culminates in today’s dedication and she hopes the Memorial provokes “thinking and thanking” and that its location, close to the Capitol Building, makes lawmakers “think twice” about the human cost of war.

Read more about this dynamic 81 year-old’s zest for life and her other philanthropic efforts at The Lois Pope Life Foundation and soon in our upcoming AbledPeople profile of Lois Pope.

President Barack Obama, left, is presented a plaque by philanthropist Lois Pope, right, and Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, during the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial dedication ceremony in Washington, Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014. President Obama paid tribute to disabled U.S. veterans on Sunday, pointing to the dedication of a new memorial honoring those severely injured in war as a symbol of the nation's perseverance and character. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

President Barack Obama, left, is presented a plaque by philanthropist Lois Pope, right, and Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, during the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial dedication ceremony in Washington, Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014.

President Obama paid tribute to disabled U.S. veterans on Sunday, pointing to the dedication of a new memorial honoring those severely injured in war as a symbol of the nation’s perseverance and character.

(Photo:wwlp.com/AP/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Lois Pope addresses the 2014 Disabled American Veterans & DAV Auxiliary National Convention

AbledWarriors banner reads: The Dedication Ceremony

President Obama Dedicates New Memorial To Disabled Veterans

(WASHINGTON) U.S. President Barack Obama paid tribute to disabled American veterans, living and deceased, from all conflicts as he participated in the dedication of The American Veterans Disabled For Life Memorial in Washington, D.C. .

“America . . .”, he told the audience of over 3,000 people – many of them wounded and disabled veterans, “if you want to know what real strength is, if you want to see the character of our country, a country that never quits, look at these men and women.”

The President said the memorial would commemorate two centuries of Americans who have stepped forward to serve, leaving loved ones behind, and who returned home forever altered by war.

Mr. Obama said, “This memorial is a challenge to all of us, a reminder of the obligations this country is under. If we are to truly honor these veterans we must heed the voices that speak to us here. Let’s never rush into war, because it is America’s sons and daughters who bear the scars of war for the rest of their lives. “Let us only send them into harm’s way when it’s absolutely necessary.”

The dedication, Sunday, October 5th, was the culmination of 16 years of lobbying, fundraising and bureaucratic maneuvering by philanthropist Lois Pope, the late former Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jesse Brown and former CEO and national adjutant of the Disabled American Veterans organization Art Wilson. Mrs. Pope contributed $10 million of the more than $80 million raised  and started a Foundation to shepherd the Memorial through the daunting evolution from an idea to a U.S. law enacted by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton, and, ultimately, the finished site comprised of stone, glass, bronze, symbolic trees and a granite star- shaped fountain with a ceremonial flame and reflecting pool.

It is located behind the U.S. Botanic Garden near the Rayburn House Office Building with a kitty corner view to the U.S. Capitol Building as seen in the following watercolor rendering by the firm of Michael Vergason Landscape Architects in Alexandria, Virginia, which submitted the chosen design.

AbledWarriors photo shows a watercolor rendering by Michael Vergason Landscape Architects of their design for The American veterans Disabled For Life Memorial in Washington, D.C. The watercolor is done as an aerial view of the site with the U.S. Capitol building in the distance in the top right corner. The site is a rectangular space with a fountain in the shape of a granite star and a reflecting pool bordered on one side by stone walls with various inscriptions and etched glass panels with bronze sculptures surrounded by a grove of trees.

Disabled Veterans Advocate, Actor Gary Sinise Speaks At Memorial

(WASHINGTON) You may know him best for his indelible portrayal of disabled veteran Lt. Dan Taylor in the 1994 movie Forrest Gump, but in real life, actor Gary Sinise has used that ‘claim to fame’ as a springboard to be an outspoken advocate of veterans’ issues.

In his most recent role as National Spokesman for The American Veterans Disabled For Life Memorial, he has traveled from coast to coast across the United States raising awareness about the Memorial and helping to raise funds.

Today, Sunday, October 5, 2014, his efforts, and those of the Board of Directors of the Disabled Veterans’ Life Memorial Foundation saw the fruition of their efforts at the dedication of the Memorial.

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AbledWarriors Photo shows a photograph of two of the panels from the American Veterans Disabled For Life Memorial in Washington, D.C. . A photo of a soldier comforting a wounded comrade is etched into the glass while a braze sculpture outline of a solider in full battle gear walking in a crouched position is seen in the background.
bledWarriors-Photo-President-Obama-Speaks-During-Dedication-of-The-American-Veterans-Disabled-For-Life-Memorial-
AbledWarriors-Photo-Invites guests and veterans are seen behind a flame from a pool as they listen to President Barack Obama speak at the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial dedication ceremony in Washington, Sunday, Oct. 5, 2014.
AbledWarriors Photo: Watercolor rendering of an aerial view of the American Veterans Disabled For Life Memorial
AbledWarriors Photo: Aerial view of the American Veterans Disabled For Life Memorial
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THE HISTORY OF THE MEMORIAL

This video was produced as an overview of the 16 year journey to bring the tribute to fruition, and, as an invitation to the official dedication ceremony of October, 5, 2014.

AMERICAN VETERANS DISABLED FOR LIFE MEMORIAL 

This video was produced to raise awareness about the proposed Memorial and to solicit donations to help with the funding of it.

GARY SINISE CHAMPIONS THE MEMORIAL ON ‘FACE THE NATION’ 

This video was produced in August as actor Gary Sinise, the official spokesman of the American Veterans Disabled For Life Memorial is interviewed for the CBS program ‘Face The Nation’.

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AbledPeople-Abled-Persons-of-the-Month-The-Bilodeau-Brothers

POSTED ON February 12th  - POSTED IN AbledPeople
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AbledPeople photo shows Canada's Alex Bilodeau dressed in his skiing gear celebrating his gold medal win in Men's Moguls at the Sochi Winter Olympics with his brother Frederic who is living with Cerebral Palsy. They are standing together with an arm around each other and holding a flag of Canada behind them with their other arms.
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An Inspirational Story Of Brotherly Love & Support Of Olympic Proportions

 

They first came to the attention of people around the world at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, and now their inspirational story is touching even more hearts around the world after a gold medal victory at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

 

In 2010, Alex Bilodeau was part of the Canadian National Olympic Team as a contender in the Men’s moguls freestyle skiing competition – a downhill race over bumps of snow with a few aerial jumps thrown in. He won the first gold medal by a Canadian on Canadian soil.

 

Cheering him on over every bump and through every twist and turn was his older brother Frederic and that’s where their incredible story of mutual support and inspiration first came to light.

 

Now, four years later, it was front and center again in all the media coverage as Alex fended off competition from teammate Mikael Kingsbury to make history by becoming the first two-time Olympic gold medalist in freestyle skiing. And the very first thing he did after his gold medal run was lift his brother Frederic over the crowd barrier and share a victory embrace with him.

 

AbledPeople photo shows Canadian Olympic gold medalist Alex Bilodeau lifting his brother Frederic over the crowd barrier in a victory embrace.

 

Yet Alex, a three-time World Champion in dual moguls, said his four-year journey to that victory was nothing compared to the struggles of Frederic who has cerebral palsy, and he is in awe of his ability to get the best out of life, despite his difficulties.

 

His voice filled with emotion, 26 year-old Alex says of his brother, “The motivation that he has, if he had had the chances like I did, he would have been four times Olympic champion. He’s a great inspiration, a great person and he’s going to be an inspiration for me after my career also. Every little thing in life is hard for him, whether it’s going from his seat to go and see me here, walking in the snow, it takes so much energy, it’s very hard. I always complain, and he has every reason in the world to complain and he never does. And why is that? He enjoys life, he takes the best out of it.”

 

The brothers have also been a team outside the Olympic venue, raising awareness about, and funds for, cerebral palsy research. And it is for the examples of sportsmanship, perseverance, inspiration and compassion that they set individually and together that we name Alex and Frederic Bilodeau Abled.com’s Persons of the Month for February and also for March when the Winter Paralympics are held in Sochi.

 

And after you watch the following profiles on the brothers, you’ll understand why. The first is from a 2010 documentary from Canada’s CTV Network.

Related Organizations banner

 

Abled Public Service link to the Cerebral Palsy Support Foundation of Canada. Click here to go to their website.

 

Abled Public Service link to United Cerebral Palsy in the United States. Click here to go to their website.

 

Abled Public Service link to the International Cerebral Palsy Society. Click here to go to their website.

 

Abled Public Service link to the cerebral Palsy International Sport and Recreation Association. CLick here to go to their website.

 

Abled Public Service link for the London Centre For Children With Cerebral Palsy. CLick here to go to their website.

 

Abled Public Service link to the Cerebral Palsy Alliance of Australia. Click here to go to their website.

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POSTED ON January 18th  - POSTED IN AbledPeople
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A screenshot from an NBC News feature on Derrick Coleman shows the Seattle Seahawks fullback visiting 'Listen and Talk' a program for kids with hearing loss. Many of the children are wearing Seattle Seahawks jerseys.

 

Derrick Coleman: Abled.com Person Of The Month for January 2014

 

“I’m just a guy who has hearing aids and wanted to play football and found a way to do it”

 

Those are the words of a humble 23 year old who claims ‘he’s nobody special’, but millions of people around the world are quickly becoming fans because of his inspirational story. And millions more will likely follow because of features done about his story on CBS News This Morning, NBC Nightly News, and ABC’s World News Tonight.

 

Derrick Coleman is the first offensive player in the National Football League who is legally deaf. That may be inspiring in itself. But it’s his quiet dignity and perseverance in the face of a lifetime of bullying and marginalizing by non-believers, as well as the way he is inspiring a generation of young people living with hearing loss, that is winning over new fans.

 

And that’s the reason we’ve named Derrick Coleman “Abled.com Person of the Month”.

 

His story is also featured in an ad by Duracell and it has gone viral with over 6.8 million views on YouTube.

 

In the last games leading up to the Superbowl, it’s a story that had many people around the world hoping that he and his team, the Seattle Seahawks go all the way to the championship. And, after defeating the San Francisco 49ers in a heart-stopping final, they will.

 

Ironically, as NBC puts it, “he plays in the loudest sports stadium, with one of the most boisterous, raucous and turbulent fans in the nation.

 

“I may not hear all of them, but I can feel them,” says Coleman. “The vibration, their faces, it helps me hear them.”

 

One of the most eloquent comments related to the story of Derrick Coleman was posted recently at HuffingtonPost.com by “Lisa” (lcksav):

 

“Dear Mr. Coleman:

 

Thank you for sharing your story with the world. I too have a hearing impairment that started when I was a child. I am over 55% deaf to low tones in both ears.

 

As I grew up many people made fun of me asking, “Are you stupid”? “Are you deaf”? Well, the answer was “No, I’m not stupid and yes, I am deaf”.

 

I can’t begin to tell you how living a normal life is with hearing loss, especially when you can’t afford hearing aids, or have to borrow from your 401k to pay for them. As well, insurance companies don’t help with the cost involved.

 

I have lived my life trying to explain to people at the drive-thru window, the bank, the receptionists at the doctors’ offices, my own family and co-workers that I AM DEAF, not stupid!

 

Perhaps through your story less children will feel the pain of growing up deaf, and more people will be more aware of how cruel they can be. Deafness is not like the loss of eyesight; you can see that someone is wearing glasses, but in the case of deafness, unless an individual can afford the hearing aids, it just appears that they are stupid, not paying attention, or yes…deaf.”

 

You can learn more about this remarkable young man in the the Duracell ad below, followed by the ‘America Strong Report’ from ABC News, the NBC report and the CBS report.

 

Remarkably the automated transcripts provided by the network are failing deaf viewers. NBC’s report had the most accurate transcript/closed-captioning, while ABC’s was markedly inaccurate. CBS had no closed-captioning or transcript whatsoever, which is a disservice to deaf viewers as reflected in the comments on their site.

 

It’s a ‘duh’ moment for their producers because the CBS report is the best and most extensive report, and you would think that with a high-profile story such as Coleman’s that is going more viral everyday, proper closed-captioning and a transcript would be an obvious service to provide.

 

None of the networks, including YouTube, allow for a transcript or closed-captioning when you share and embed a video from their site, so we’ve provided AbledTranscripts for our deaf users following each of the videos.

Duracell’s ad of Derrick Coleman’s inspiring story goes viral with over 6.8 million hits

AbledTranscript of the Duracell Ad for our deaf users:

0:04 [Fans cheering] [Sudden silence]
0:04 They told me it couldn’t be done . . . that I was a lost cause.
0:10 I was picked on . . . and picked last.
0:15 Coaches didn’t know how to talk to me.
0:18 [Sounds of football game] They gave up on me . . . told me I should just quit
0:27 [… and the last pick is …] They didn’t call my name . . . told me it was over.
0:38 But I’ve been deaf since I was three . . . so I didn’t listen.
0:44 [Motivational music]
0:47 Now I’m here . . . with the loudest fans in the NFL cheering me on. And I can hear them all.

 

ABC World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer’s ‘America Strong’ feature on Derrick Coleman.

AbledTranscript of the ABC News report for our deaf users:

Diane Sawyer: The professional football player about to play the biggest game of his life in front of the loudest fans in history. And he has become an inspiration by tackling a challenge on and off the field. And ABC’s Neal Karlinsky has the man who is America strong.

Neal Karlinsky: (Fan cheers) To most of us the stadium famous for being the loudest in the NFL sounds like this. (Loud roar of the fans). But to Seattle Seahawks number forty that fierce roar sounds more like this dull rumble– (muted sound of the fans roar).

Derrick Coleman: Being deaf, being hard of hearing, that’s who I am, so I mean I’m not somebody else come in here and tell tell me ‘Oh you’re deaf’;  that’s who I am, so it made me who I am today.

Neal Karlinsky: Derrick Coleman is the first legally deaf offensive player in the NFL.  The fullback is the unlikely star of this Duracell battery commercial, viewed nearly five million times online.

Derrick Coleman voiceover in Duracell ad: They told me it couldn’t be done . . . that I was a lost cause . . . I was picked on.

Neal Karlinsky: Deaf since the age of three he never quit and overcame incredible odds,  first as a star in high school, then at UCLA, and now with the Seattle Seahawks. He taught himself to read lips because even his powerful hearing aids aren’t enough for him to know exactly when a play is about to begin.

Neal Karlinsky: You used to have tricks . . .

Derrick Coleman: I don’t move until the ball moves, that’s my thing. I think I had maybe two false starts in my whole career.

Neal Karlinsky: When a play is changed at the last minute, watch the quarterback turn so Coleman can read his lips.

Play by play announcer: Russell Wilson turned around and mouthed ‘the audible’ to him.

Neal Karlinsky: As his team plays the last game team standing between them and the Super Bowl this weekend, number forty will be there . . . reading lips and feeling the vibrations of the fans’ cheers.

Derrick Coleman: When people . . . it’s like ‘oh you can’t do this’ . . . it’s more motivation for me, like . . . OK, watch me.

Neal Karlinsky: That’s America Strong. Neal Karlinsky, ABC News, Seattle.

NBC Nightly News report on Derrick Coleman.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

AbledTranscript of the NBC News report for our deaf users:

Reporter: Growing up in Seattle will make you a fan of the Seahawks, but something else is making these kids a fan of one Seahawk in particular, Number 40.

Young boy:  He has hearing aids like me.

Reporter: He is talking about Derrick Coleman , who recently paid a visit to Listen & Talk, a program for kids with hearing loss . Coleman left a big impression on 5-year-old Korrigan Donaldson.

Reporter: What do you want to do when you grow up?

Korrigan Donaldson:  I want to be a football player.

Reporter: Coleman is the first deaf offensive player in the NFL. The fullback for the Seahawks just happens to play in a stadium known for earth shaking cheers that actually measure on the Richter Scale .

Derrick Coleman:  It’s great. I mean, their energy is basically more energy for us, more motivation.

Reporter: Can you feel the fans?

Derrick Coleman: Oh, yeah. i can feel it.

Reporter: Coleman ‘s hearing aids help on the fields but more than anything he relies on reading lips.

Derrick Coleman: It’s my job to go out and prove to everybody basically what I’m doing now, is that I can do the same thing everybody else can do.

May Hamlin (Derrick Coleman’s mother):  This is around 2 years old . . .

Reporter: His mother knows it wasn’t easy. Growing up kids would tease her son who has been deaf since age 3.

May Hamlin (Derrick Coleman’s mother):  I would tell him, you know what? God made you like you are for a purpose and a reason and you don’t let anybody bring you down.

Derrick Coleman voiceover from Duracell ad: I was picked on  [other kid calls him ‘four ears’] and picked last.

Reporter: Coleman’s story “perseverance” is now featured in a Duracell commercial that’s gone viral.

Derrick Coleman voiceover in Duracell Ad: Now I’m here with a lot of fans in the NFL cheering me on, and I can hear them all.

Reporter: He empowers kids like Josh Masters who dreams of playing college basketball .

Josh Masters: We’ve both been put down; we’ve both been having setbacks just because we’re deaf, but beyond that we both kept on pushing.

Reporter: That is why Coleman shares his story.

Derrick Coleman: With a hundred kids in there, I just want at least one of them to walk out of there knowing that, okay,  I can do this.

Reporter: An inspiring message fans can hear and, most of all, feel. Joe Fryer, NBC News, Seattle.

CBS News This Morning report on Derrick Coleman.

AbledTranscript of the CBS News This Morning report for our deaf users:

[In Studio] CBS This Morning anchor Charlie Rose: This morning, a battery commercial is the latest Internet sensation. It stars Derrick Coleman of the Seattle Seahawks. He is the only athlete in NFL history to play offense, despite the fact he is legally deaf. Bill Whitaker caught up with Coleman as he gets ready for another chance to break one more barrier . . . the Super Bowl.

Bill Whitaker: When the Seattle Seahawks take on the San Francisco 49ers this weekend, no one will be paying better attention than Derrick Coleman. 

Derrick Coleman: I have to be aware. I have to be focused more than everybody else. 

Bill Whitaker: Diagnosed with profound hearing loss, Coleman relies on lip-reading and his own unique way of communicating with the quarterback. 

Derrick Coleman: He knows to look at me. If he makes an audible at the line of scrimmage, he knows to tell everybody . . . turn back at me just one more time, and he will tell me the play.

Bill Whitaker: It’s the way he’s always played the game.

Derrick Coleman: I’m capable of doing what everybody else can do, and  . . . despite whether I have hearing loss or not.

Bill Whitaker: You’re hearing loss is no excuse.

Derrick Coleman: No, no. You can’t use your problem as an excuse, y’know, because . . . uh, you use it as an excuse, you’re not going to get to your dream.

Bill Whitaker: He was taught that philosophy at an early age. ‘Turns out, to really know Derrick Coleman’s story, you have to meet the parents. His mother, May Hamlin and father, Derrick Coleman Sr., were worried when their son began losing his hearing at the age of 3.

Derrick Coleman Sr.:  You feel that . . . that uncertainty, that fear as a parent, y’know, is my child gonna be OK?

May Hamlin: He was definitely teased, uh, he was bullied, y’now, they were calling him ‘four ears’ . . .

Derrick Coleman: My mom always said ‘people who make fun of you . . . trying to bring you down, are already down . . . they’re trying to bring you to their level.

Bill Whitaker: These days, Coleman wears a skull cap  to keep his hearing aids in place under his helmet. As a kid, he had to improvise. 

May Hamlin: I took a pair of my pantyhose and I cut the pantyhose and I tied the top of it and I said ‘well let’s see if this works, and if this holds ’em in’, and lo and behold, it worked.

Derrick Coleman: A lot of people say ‘Oh. your football career started with some pantyhose’- I’m like, well, everybody has their story and that just happens to be mine.

Bill Whitaker: By the time he reached high school in souther California, it was Coleman’s athletic ability, not his disability, that garnered attention.

Derrick Coleman Sr.: I was like, ‘Wow this kid can , he can play football’ . I would be running up and down the field right alongside with him, so at that point you started to feel it, you’re like ‘Hey, he . . . he has something.

May Hamlin: ‘Look at him! Oh my God, go!’  and he knew exactly where I sat . . . I couldn’t sit around people in fear that they would say something negative about his hearing. He knew exactly where I sat, all the way at the top, all alone by myself.

Derrick Coleman: I always knew she was in that corner.

Bill Whitaker: Despite his college stats – he rushed for 17 hundred yards and scored 19 touchdowns for UCLA, he was passed over in the NFL draft.

Derrick Coleman: Maybe it’s just a blessing in disguise.

Bill Whitaker: He was invited to try-out for the Seahawks.

Derrick Coleman: A bad thing happened, I didn’t get drafted . . . well . . . there was an opportunity right after that to go prove to them . . . prove them wrong that they should have drafted me, they should have gotten me.

Bill Whitaker: I think you proved it.

Derrick Coleman: Oh yeah, I’m proving it now, but I still got a long way to go.

Derrick Coleman voiceover from Duracell ad: I was picked on  [other kid calls him ‘four ears’] and picked last.

Bill Whitaker: Coleman’s Duracell commercial has over 4 million views in only 5 days. 

Derrick Coleman voiceover from Duracell ad: And now I’m here with the loudest fans in the NFL cheering me on . . . and I can hear them all.

Bill Whitaker: Seahawks coach Pete Carroll says the ad is inspiring and he’s already seen Coleman’s positive impact on others.

Pete Carroll: I’ve seen Derrick talk to kids before that have the same kinds of issues that they deal with, and he’s an extraordinary model, and he’s got a great message.

Bill Whitaker: A big dream has to be  just sittin’ out there . . .the Super Bowl.

Derrick Coleman: Well within reach, but , um, I’m probably gonna work hard all week. That’s the Vince Lombardi trophy that I could touch, right there, y’know. How many people get a chance to do that?

Bill Whitaker: For CBS This Morning, Bill Whitaker, Bellevue, Washington.

[In Studio] CBS News This Morning anchor Norah O’Donnell: He’s awesome.

CBS News This Morning anchor Charlie Rose: Oh man, he’s good isn’t he? Yeah! One more story of the power of the human will, y’know?

Norah O’Donnell: Absolutely, and . . .  and not only because of his hearing loss, but then he didn’t get drafted and he said ‘that’s just one more opportunity to prove myself’.

Charlie Rose: And that lovely mother sitting up there in the stands where he knew exactly where she was sitting.

Norah O’Donnell: Great parents . . . great parents.

AbledPeople photo shows a close up of a hearing aid on the ear of of a young girl at the Listen and Talk non-profit in Seattle. The hearing aid has e decal of the Seattle Seahawks logo with the number 40 painted on it in honor of Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman.

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Abled Public Service Ad for Listen and Talk, the Seattle-based non-profit that Derrick Coleman supports that is works with children at all degrees of hearing loss. Click here to go to their website.

 

Abled Public Service Ad for the World Federation of the Deaf. Click here to go to their website.

 

Abled Public Service Ad for the European Union of the Deaf. Click here to go to their website.

 

Abled Public Service Ad for the Asia Pacific Sign Language Development Association. Click here to go to their website.

 

Abled Public Service Ad for The National Association of the Deaf in the United States. Click here to go to their website.

 

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Abled Public Service Ad for The British Deaf Association. Click here to go to their website.

 

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Abled Public Service Ad for Deaf Australia Incorporated. CLick here to go to their website.

 

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POSTED ON December 13th  - POSTED IN AbledPeople
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AbledPeople post banner shows a black and white photo of former South African President Nelson Mandel looking out between the bars on the window of his former prison cell. The headline reads: Nelson Mandela: 1918-2013: A Champion Of Human Rights Belongs To The Ages.

Mandela Was Also A Champion For Persons Living With A Disability

 

‘We have tried to give special emphasis to the rights of people living with disability. It is so easy to think of equality demands with reference primarily to race, colour, religion and gender; and to forget, or to relegate to secondary importance, the vast discrimination against disabled persons.’

Nelson Mandela 2004

In support of Scope’s ‘Time To Get Equal’ campaign

 

Former South African President Nelson Mandela is shown sitting in a wingback chair in a silver-grey shirt with gold and brown vines and leaves with an AIDS awareness ribbon pin clipped to his collar. He is emphasizing a point with his right hand and index finger while sitting in front of a poster for the Time To Get Equal Campaign.

 

An Extraordinary Life Fades To Black

 

The news came at a moment of art imitating life, his life, and as the motion picture dramatization of his life story came to an end, the official announcement was made that Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela’s life had also come to an end at the age of 95.

 

The occasion was the Royal Film Premiere in London of ‘Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom’ in the presence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

 

 

An audible gasp was heard from the audience, as producer Anant Singh made the following announcement as the credits rolled, and as the actor who portrayed Nelson MandelaIdris Elba – broke into tears behind him:

 

 

Anant Singh had been informed of Mandela’s passing while the movie was playing, as were Prince William and two of Nelson Mandela’s daughters – Zindzi and Zenani – who were at the premiere. The daughters left to return to their hotel but insisted that the movie continue. Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, expressed his condolences as he and his wife Katherine, the Duchess of Cambridge,  left the premiere:

 

 

As millions of people around the world reflect on Nelson Mandela’s legacy as a statesman, freedom-fighter to some – terrorist to others, and in the end, as a human being, we reflect on, and pay tribute to, his never-ending mission to enlighten, inspire and set an example for the improvement of human rights and equality regardless of race, gender or ability.

 

 

After he emerged from 27 years of imprisonment to eventually lead South Africa out of decades of Apartheid as the nation’s first elected black President in 1994, Nelson Mandela set the bar higher for human rights, including the rights of persons with disabilities in his speech opening the First Annual South African Junior Wheelchair Sports Camp, in Johannesburg, on December 4th, 1995:

 

‘The new South Africa we are building should be accessible and open to everyone.  Disabled children are equally entitled to an exciting and brilliant future.  We must see to it that we remove the obstacles: poor access to facilities; poor education; lack of transport; lack of funding or unavailability of equipment. Only then will the rights of the disabled to equal opportunities become a reality.’ 

 

The right to equality and non-discrimination of people living with disabilities in South Africa are protected in the country’s Constitution and Bill of Rights, which Nelson Mandela signed on 10 December 1996.  Under the terms of the Constitution, disabled persons are also entitled to human dignity and the advancement of human rights and freedoms.

 

According to the last census in 2001, over 2.3 million people in South Africa had various forms of disability – amounting to 5% of South Africa’s estimated population of  50 million.

 

In 2004, Mandela gave his support to a campaign launched by the UK charity Scope that was called ‘Time To Get Equal’, as you can see in the photo near the top of this post. He voiced his support in this message to the 2004 Conference For The Disabled. The text is courtesy of the Nelson Mandela Foundation:

 

 

Friends

 

This is a very special month and period in South Africa. And because the international community contributed so much to bring about the special situation we are celebrating in our country we believe that this is also a special period for the world.

 

We in South Africa are celebrating a decade of non-racial, non-sexist, non-discriminatory democracy. We went to the polls in our third democratic election just this past week. All of this stood in celebration of our democracy, based on the values of human dignity, the achievement of human equality and the advancement of human rights and freedoms.

 

Under the equality clause in our constitutions bill of rights we affirm that, and I quote:

 

The state may not unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more grounds, including race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language and birth.

 

The constitution continues to affirm that no person may unfairly discriminate directly or indirectly against anyone on one or more of the grounds mentioned above.

 

We have striven to give legislative and regulatory content to these founding precepts in our nation-building constitution. We have in this past decade progressed, slow as it may have been, towards living together in the acknowledgement of the basic equality and right to dignity of all human beings.

 

We have tried to give special emphasis to the rights of people living with disability. It is so easy to think of equality demands with reference primarily to race, colour, religion and gender; and to forget, or to relegate to secondary importance, the vast discrimination against disabled persons.

 

We cannot claim to reached anywhere near to where a society should be in terms of practical equality of the disabled. We continue to try. We realise that legislation and regulations are not sufficient or the end of the long walk to equality and non-discrimination. Education, raising of awareness, conscientisation, eradication of stigmatisation: these are key elements in achieving non-discrimination against the disabled in practice and in their everyday lives.

 

A democracy is an order of social equality and non-discrimination. Our compatriots who are disabled challenge us in a very special way to manifest in real life those values of democracy.

 

It is not a question of patronising philanthropy towards disabled people. They do not need the patronage of the non-disabled. It is not for them to adapt to the dominant and dominating world of the so-called non-disabled. It is for us to adapt our understanding of a common humanity; to learn of the richness of how human life is diverse; to recognise the presence of disability in our human midst as an enrichment of our diversity.

 

Organisations like Scope help us to that greater understanding and I ask you to support Scope in its fight to end discrimination and to sign the equality pledge.

 

I thank you.

Nelson Mandela 2004

 

 

Three years after this conference, South Africa ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in November, 2007. 

 

And now, it is for the next generation of South Africans who refer to their beloved national hero, Nelson Mandela, by his traditional Xhosa clan name, “Madiba” , or “Tata” (father), to protect and further evolve his legacy of equal rights for everyone as a reminder and admonishment to other nations around the world that still marginalize their people because of race, gender or ability.

 

As U.S. President Barack Obama stated,  Nelson Mandela was “one of the “most influential, courageous and profoundly good” people to have ever lived. He achieved more than could be expected of any man. Today he’s gone home,” an emotional Obama said, in remarks from the White House. “He no longer belongs to us. He belongs to the ages.” 

 

 

 

“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”

Nelson Mandela

 

Abled Public Service link to The Nelson Mandela Foundation shows a photo looking up at the late President as he gives his trademark closed-fist salute with a stylized sun symbol above the name of the foundation. Click here to go to the website.

 

Abled Public Service link to the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund.  A stylized red/orange sun is above the name of the Fund while an illustration of children standing side by side holding handsin vibrant colors of red, blue, black yellow and green, including a child in a wheelchair placed above the sub-text: Changing the way society treats its children and youth. Click here to go to the website.

 

Abled Public Service link to the Mandela-Rhodes Foundation.  The logo consists of two stylized postage stamps depicting Nelson Mandela and Cecil Rhodes. Mr. Rhodes was an English businessman, mining magnate and politician in South Africa and was named the chairman of the De Beers diamond mining company at its founding in 1888. He set up the provisions of the Rhodes Scholarships at Oxford University in England, which is funded by his estate. Click here to go to the Foundation's website.

 

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AbledPeople: Angelina Jolie

POSTED ON May 20th  - POSTED IN AbledPeople
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AbledPeople Special Report Post Banner shows Angelina Jolie in a grey suit dress shaking hands with Queen Elizabeth The Second of Great Britain, who is wearing a beige peach dress, in a drawing room at Buckingham Palace. The Queen presented Jolie with the Insignia of an Honorary Dame Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George for her campaign to end sexual violence in war zones.
AbledPeople photo shows UN Special Envoy Angelina Jolie posing for photographers as she arrives at the 'End Sexual Violence in Conflict' summit. The caption reads: Study: 'Angelina Effect' more than doubled breast cancer tests in Canada and the UK.

“The ‘Angelina Effect’ has been long-lasting and global and appears to have increased referrals to centres appropriately.”

That’s the word from a team led by Professor Gareth Evans of the University of Manchester in Great Britain. Referrals to breast cancer clinics more than doubled in the UK after Angelina Jolie announced in May, 2013 that she had undergone a double mastectomy as a preventative measure after being told she had an 87 percent chance of developing cancer because she carried the BRCA1 gene mutation.

The researchers looked at referrals to more than 20 genetic centers and clinics in the UK  in the two months that followed Jolie’s revelation and found the number of GP referrals for  genetic counseling and DNA tests for the BRCA1 gene mutation increased more than 2.5 times over the same period a year earlier.

The study, published in the journal Breast Cancer Research, found the effect lasted by about the same proportion from August to October, and mirrored trends around the world.

Here’s a summary of results from various countries:

UNITED KINGDOM: Study finds the ‘Angelina Effect’ prompted a 2.5x surge in women undergoing genetic testing for breast cancer.

UNITED STATES: Testing for breast cancer genes has doubled since Angelina Jolie’s essay on her double mastectomy. On June 13, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court also removed the patent on  breast cancer gene testing, making it more widely available and affordable. Jolie’s essay in the New York Times had been published concurrently with the Supreme Court deliberations on the validity of the BRCA gene patent rights held by Myriad Genetics, and she had acknowledged the largely prohibitive cost of the gene mutation testing and advocated wider accessibility.

CANADA: Study done by Sunnybrook Hospital’s Odette Cancer Centre in Toronto shows the number of women at high risk for hereditary cancer considering genetic testing has doubled following Angelina Jolie’s revelation of her preventative choices.

 AUSTRALIA: Referrals to cancer genetic clinics tripled. The Cancer Council of Victoria reported a 1,033 percent increase in calls to its helpline.

NEW ZEALAND: Calls to breast cancer helpline tripled following Angelina Jolie’s decision to undergo a double mastectomy.

Praise and Criticism Followed Preventative Procedure

 

Angelina Jolie, Oscar®-winning actress and director, and Special Envoy of UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres, dropped a bombshell in a New York Times Op-Ed piece that she had undergone a double mastectomy as a preventative measure against against breast cancer.

As the news spread virally online and by word-of-mouth, the focus was more on the mastectomy rather than the careful and sober reasoning behind the decision, prompting some ill-informed criticism across the blogosphere.

Those who took the time to read a little further into Jolie’s op-ed learned that, “I had an 87 percent risk of breast cancer and a 50 percent risk of ovarian cancer, although the risk is different in the case of each woman. Only a fraction of breast cancers result from an inherited gene mutation. Those with a defect in BRCA1 have a 65 percent risk of getting it, on average”.

Jolie’s risk was inherited from her mother, actress Marcheline Bertrand. “My mother fought cancer for almost a decade and died at 56,” Jolie writes. “She held out long enough to meet the first of her grandchildren and to hold them in her arms. But my other children will never have the chance to know her and experience how loving and gracious she was.”

 

Photos of Marcheline Bertrand and Angelina Jolie at different ages

 

Jolie’s mother died in January 2007. She had small roles in the movies “Lookin’ to Get Out” in 1982 and “The Man Who Loved Women” in 1983. She raised Jolie and her brother after divorcing their father, Oscar®-winning actor Jon Voight, when Jolie was a toddler.

Cancer has taken a horrible toll on Jolie’s relatives on her mother’s side of the family. Her aunt Debbie was also fighting a losing battle with BRCA1 at the time of Angelina’s announcement and died soon after. More on her condition was revealed in the following report on the TV program Inside Edition:

 

Link to Inside Edition story about Angelina Jolie's Aunt Debbie and her battle with breast cancer

 

Jolie has appeared in dozens of films including 2010’s “The Tourist” and “Salt,” the “Tomb Raider” films, and 1999’s “Girl, Interrupted,” for which she won an Academy Award. But she has gained more recognition in recent years for her relationship with Brad Pitt and the family of six children they are raising together, as well as for her charitable work with refugees around the world as a United Nations Special Envoy for the UN High Commissioner For Refugees.

It was that work that led to her directorial feature debut with “In the Land of Blood and Honey” (2011), a love story between a Serb soldier and a Bosniak prisoner of war, set during the 1992–95 Bosnian War. Jolie, who had twice visited Bosnia-Herzegovina in her capacity as a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, explained that she made the film to rekindle attention for the survivors of a war that took place in recent history.

After Jolie went public with her Op-Ed, Pitt issued a statement to London’s Evening Standard. “Having witnessed this decision firsthand, I find Angie’s choice, as well as many others like her, absolutely heroic,” Pitt said in the statement. “I thank our medical team for their care and focus.” “All I want is for her to have a long and healthy life, with myself and our children,” Pitt continued. “This is a happy day for our family.”

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague also paid tribute to Jolie, who kept working as a UN Special Envoy throughout the past three months, and made a high-profile trip to the Congo alongside Hague, later appearing with him, and a delegation from the United States, at the G8 Summit in London in April to call for an end to sexual violence in conflict zones.

 

Angelina Jolie at the G8 Summit in London, calls for an end to sexual violence in conflict zones.

   

Hague (pictured left in the above photo) said, “This is a brave choice by a remarkable woman. The courage it must have taken not only to go through this treatment but then to speak about it to help other women is truly inspiring. Throughout it all her humanitarian work has not missed a beat. This is a courageous decision by one of the bravest people I know. I wish her and her family the very best.”

Photo of Angelina Jolie at the G8 summit in the UK in early May, 2013

 

    

“For any woman reading this, I hope it helps you to know you have options.

I want to encourage every woman, especially if you have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer, to seek out the information and medical experts who can help you through this aspect of your life, and to make your own informed choices.

Angelina Jolie

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Angelina Jolie – An Inspiration For Women Everywhere 

This profile of Angelina Jolie is one of many stories that we hope will provide you with inspirational and insightful information to help you ask informed questions of your health care professionals and to help you make informed choices if you face similar circumstances in your own life.

By showcasing her work as a Special Envoy of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and her pioneering work with former U.K. Foreign Secretary William Hague to end sexual violence in conflict zones, we hope to further raise awareness about the plight of millions of people around the world, and support for proposed solutions.

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Laura Meddens

Co-Founder, Abled.com

Click here to read the original Op-Ed in the New York Times
Link box shows a colored strand of DNA with the caption 'What is BRCA1'. CLick to link to more information at Wikipedia.com
Click here to link to Angelina's treatment journal at the Pink Lotus Breast Center
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