A bright light in the disability community has left us. Well maybe she hasn’t really left us.
I didn’t know Helen well, but I did have the honour of working with her a little bit. One day, she was encouraging the work I was doing with the Toronto Disability Pride March, and I couldn’t quite work up the nerve to tell her how much of an influence she was in my life. I thought I would find a better time. She was someone I looked up to, and though she was a humble person, I felt humbled in her presence.
Her writing taught me that people wanted true stories of disabled people at a time when it seemed like those things were invisible to the wider world. Her ability to cross that border, and show non-disabled people the truths of our lives was uniquely powerful.
Thank you Helen for sharing your cleverness, your quiet strength, and your warm encouragement. There are eyes more open, and lives made brighter, because you dared to share your world with us.
The following is a You Tube video of Helen at TedxRyerson: