For their Lenten Campaign, Carondelet High School participated with Free Wheelchair Mission to change lives through the gift of mobility. When Carondelet took on this campaign, I don’t think they were quite expecting one girl to take it one step further and to make her junior prom a extremely unique experience.
At the end of March, Molly Norris attended her junior prom in a wheelchair – by choice. Molly spent the entire day (about 10 hours) in a wheelchair, including the getting ready, taking photos with friends and even going to dinner and the dance in a wheelchair. Her story inspired so many at her High School, but even more than that, she inspired each one of us. We wanted to share with you her story, from her words. This is what she told us after prom:
I am one of the student leaders for Jefferson Award Students In Action and our job is to promote service in school and I learned about the project through Ms. Payne. When she first presented the idea of fundraising for Free Wheelchair Mission we watched one of the videos from your website. I was incredibly touched by it and couldn’t help but smile when I saw the pure joy that was on the people’s faces when they first discovered their freedom through those wheelchairs. I was so inspired to help the cause that when Ms. Payne talked about having a junior attend prom in wheelchair I immediately volunteered.
One reason I felt connected to the cause was because I’ve grown up dealing with several health issues of my own and have been confined to a wheelchair or bed for periods of time. In the second grade, I even had to learn how to walk again after being unable to get out of bed for over a month. However, my main reason to give up mobility was my mom. When she was pregnant with me she suffered a stroke and worked incredibly hard to learn how to walk and drive again. It took incredible emotional and physical strength for a year and a half and she now faces every day with a learned determination, positivity and grace. I wanted to thank her for the hard work she put in so that she could be able to be the great mom she is now by sharing this experience with her and trying to spend the day as a testimony to the strength she showed.
As challenging as my day in the wheelchair was, I’m so appreciative of the experience because it was truly life changing and eye opening. Every plan I made for the day had to be changed to accommodate the wheelchair and even the simplest tasks are more complicated (you’d be surprised at how small handicapped bathrooms actually are). I was constantly running late and always seemed to be in the way. I can’t imagine what it is like for someone who’s in a wheelchair every day and what they have to go through. I’ve found so much respect for the the strength that they possess and I’m very grateful I was able to get such a unique insight into just one of their days. Even though the wheelchair was a hindrance throughout my day, I had to remind myself that this wheelchair would be such a huge blessing to any of the people who might receive one and that they have even less mobility. I feel so incredibly blessed with what I have in my life today and will never take anything for granted, not even something as simple as being able to walk.
Molly, you are such an inspiration to us here at Free Wheelchair Mission!! The fact that you took this mission to a new level and experience such a special day from a wheelchair truly brought your passion front and center. Thank you for doing such a POWERFUL thing for your mom, your classmates and our mission. We are touched by your decision and your passion!