"Becoming Disabled" — An Inspirational Life Account Featured in The New York Times

Author: Deborah Goodkin, Managing Director, Savings Plans, First National Bank of Omaha

This past weekend The New York Times published an opinion piece that really hit home for our team, and what we are striving to accomplish with the Enable Savings Plan.

The author, Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, gives a very honest and candid description of her experience living with a disability. Roughly 1 in 5 individuals live with a disability, a statistic which includes the elderly and all other patients with debilitating illnesses. But unlike other minority groups, social movements for people with disabilities have not gained the same traction as those associated with ethnicity or sexual orientation. Why is that?

Garland-Thomson's primary theory is there is no clear, collective notion of what it means to experience a disability. There is no universal characteristic that signifies an individual with a disability, especially since new disability categories are continuing to be recognized, including depression, anxiety disorders, anorexia, cancers, traumatic brain injuries, and more. As she points out, the majority of Americans will "become disabled," at some point in life if not at present time.

However, instead of being left with a negative feeling after reading this piece, it instilled a very positive reaction in me and the rest of the Enable Savings team. Garland-Thomson provided motivation for the work we do with her first-hand account. She talked about her daily efforts to be a part of her community and avoid isolation, a goal for many if not all within the disability community. She also discussed how while it took some time, she now states her disability aloud with feeling of pride, not shame.

While the Enable Savings Plan cannot assist everyone in the disability community, we are committed to helping every individual we can. We recognize that financial independence plays a huge part in ensuring individuals with disabilities are integrated into their local communities. In turn, financial independence offers account owners a real sense of responsibility, ownership, confidence, and pride.

We encourage all of our readers and followers to read her article for their own inspiration. Link here for the full story: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/21/opinion/sunday/becoming-disabled.html