Throughout the entirety of her 72 years (and counting!) on the face of this Earth, Mary Nay has been pushing herself to continually improve, continually live a full life, and continually place her cerebral palsy on the proverbial back burner – seeing it as something that is simply part of her life, rather than seeing her cerebral palsy as something that defines her. And now, she has taken the next step in her process of living a full life – no longer just inspiring others through her actions, but also inspiring those around her with her words!
When Mary was a young girl with cerebral palsy, her parents were very supportive and helpful. At the time, of course, there were far fewer medical advancements to help those with cerebral palsy, and people were far less accepting of someone with this disability. Mary never let this bother her, however; instead, she simply worked as hard as she could to lead a normal life, and her parents helped her in this area a great deal.
As Mary began to grow older, however, she realized her parents would not always be around to help her, and it was time for her to start taking matters into her own hands. She decided to start making goals for herself…and then, once these goals had been set, she started to work toward reaching these goals! Way back then, one of these goals was to someday write a book about her journey with cerebral palsy, and to use this book as a springboard to help others who suffer from cerebral palsy and similar disabilities. As she has said, “I want to show people that anyone who has a disability can live a normal life – set goals and live by them.” And this is exactly what the book is set to accomplish!
The book is titled “Hardly Handicapped,” and Mary recently held a book signing at the Atlantic Coast Athletic Club, where she exercises regularly. It was a special moment for her to be able to hold a book signing there, as the Atlantic Coast Athletic Club has played a crucial role in Mary’s progress and development over recent years. Once again, of course, the launching point for this “progress and development” was the goals Mary had set.
Even when Mary was a young girl with cerebral palsy, her mother encouraged her to exercise and remain active, knowing that this would help Mary continue to improve her muscle strength and control, and this was something Mary carried with her moving forward in her life. Over the last several years, Mary has done her exercise at the Atlantic Coast Athletic Club, and it is here that she has accomplished her most recent milestones: walking a mile around the track on her own…then, walking two miles on the track on her own. She is now up to two and a half miles at a time – all under her own power!
Recently, Mary attended an awards ceremony at the Frontier Cultural Museum, where she was awarded the Virginia Rehabilitation Service for the Champion Award – an award given annually to a person who has achieved a positive, “can do” attitude.
Mary may be 72 years old, but this book is just the beginning of the next step of her journey toward helping others realize their potential in the same way she has been able to continue achieving (and expanding) her potential all her life! This book is the next step in her journey of setting new goals, and of accomplishing every new goal she comes up with in her life!