Change: It’s the only thing certain and the one thing common in all of us.
Usually, many of us like to decide when things change, how they change and even for how long they change. At the beginning of each year, we find ourselves making New Year Resolutions, scheduling these new proposed changes and transformations to a specific date and time convenient to ourselves.
But for Natasha Morgan, only 24 years of age at the time, the choice was not hers to make.
“I got sick in 1994. They didn’t know what was wrong with me. I was having short of breath. Walking and falling down and I was actually in and out of the hospital until 1998 when I went to Princess Margaret Hospital in St. Thomas. They sent me to the University to do testing. My hemoglobin needed to be tested and that’s when I was diagnosed with Vitamin B12 Deficiency.”
Natasha Morgan underwent surgery due to effects such as the tightening of the muscles and muscle spasms that came along with the deficiency. And, although the doctors were able to save her hands before it was too late, it was final that she would never walk again.
Today, Morgan is employed as an accountant, clerk and pay roll advisor at the Abilities Foundation of Jamaica located in Kingston.
Although she faced many difficulties in adjusting to her new disability, she tells her story from an angle of positivity.
“It’s been good. I was a student here and being at the Abilities Foundation is like a family. We’re like a Family, so I don’t think I’ll work anywhere else because this is like a comfort zone. It is wheel chair accessible, there is access to the bathroom, you don’t have to think about stairs in any parts of the building. And to be honest with you, it’s disabled-friendly.”
The Abilities Foundation of Jamaica, which is currently home to 67 students and 26 staff members opened its arms to Morgan after she completed therapy. She was enrolled in the year 2006 in the accounting programme and since her graduation, she has been working at the foundation for a period of 9 years.
Natasha, who was married at the time, admitted that after the unexpected change, it was a dark period in her life.
“At first my immediate family they were like a tower of strength. My mother…my aunty… they all came around and tried to help me to cope, not to be depressed. But to be honest with you, during the day I was okay but when I was alone, that’s when I went through that dark period…My sons went through a lot. They have grown now but I think my sickness has caused them to become more responsible at an early age.”
Through therapy, Natasha says that she was able to take a new perspective on her life. With an air of positivity, she took the time to encourage others with similar challenges to reach out for the help they need.
“First and fore most you need something. I got counselling at Mona Rehab because when I went there, I was very depressed and they we had applicational therapy and also physical therapy and that’s where, if you can’t do it, they teach you how to learn to cope with your disability and to see yourself as a person before your disability.”
Natasha attributes much of her feelings of acceptance and motivation to the Abilities Foundation while she was enrolled and employed there.
“Being here at Abilities you learn how to start a new life. I stayed here at our training in data operations and afterwards I went and did some stuff with some subjects on my own. And it’s like, before Abilities Foundation, I had a past life, after being among persons with the different types of disabilities, it’s like a motivation. You want to be like a ‘regular person’. You want to earn; you want to buy your house or buy your car. It motivates you to push harder.”
As time progresses, many more changes will come. Some we may have control over and others may be completely out of our control. Nonetheless, Natasha Morgan’s story leaves us with a sense of hope, that despite what may come, we can still choose to create a new and positive life out of it all.