United Spinal's Roll on Capitol Hill Selects Kim Harrison of Douglasville, Georgia to Represent Disability Community

In D.C. @UnitedSpinal to Strengthen Employment Opps for People w #Disabilities #ROCH2013 http://ow.ly/kPKZN

In D.C. @UnitedSpinal to Advocate for Greater Access for #Wheelchair Users #ROCH2013 http://ow.ly/kPKZN

May 09, 2013, 09:05 ET from United Spinal Association

NEW YORK, May 9, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- United Spinal Association recently announced Kim Harrison, a resident of Douglasville, Georgia who lives with a rare neurological disorder called transverse myelitis, will join other prominent disability advocates at United Spinal Association's Roll on Capitol Hill, June 16-19 in Washington, D.C.  

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Ms. Harrison will speak directly with legislators on issues that affect the independence and quality of life of people with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCI/D).

"Roll on Capitol Hill proves that we all have a voice and that each one of us has the power to change policies that affect our independence. You just have to lift your head up, look in the mirror and say 'I can do it'," said Harrison.

Harrison will be attending Roll on Capitol Hill to advocate for more employment opportunities for all people with disabilities––whether they use wheelchairs or live with hidden disabilities.

"Kim's story shows that every one of us has a voice and can make a difference," said Alexandra Bennewith, MPA, United Spinal's Vice President of Government Relations.

Harrison's story begins in 2004, when she was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, a rare neurological disorder caused by inflammation of the spinal cord.

"I was staring at my medical chart in disbelief. Written across the front was 'Paraplegic'. That wasn't me. I had gone from being a perfectly healthy 45 year-old to having to use a wheelchair and walker in a matter of hours," she explained.

Harrison overcame numerous obstacles to regain her independence and pursue her career goals. Last year, Harrison petitioned the state of Georgia to create Transverse Myelitis Awareness Day, which takes place annually on February 15th.

"I wrote many letters and made a few personal visits to the Senate building, [and] people took notice. It was a great feeling to know I was able to make a difference," she added.

Harrison also participates in a variety of adaptive sports offered at the Shepherd Center rehab hospital in Atlanta and works as a distribution administrator for Lowe's, beating out over 390 other applicants for the position.

"Getting hired was like winning the Olympics. It improved my self-esteem and kept me focused on the positive. But I got lucky. Many people with disabilities aren't as fortunate. Now, I'm really focused on helping others find jobs that are in [the] same boat as I was," said Harrison.

About United Spinal Association

United Spinal is a national 501(c) (3) nonprofit membership organization formed in 1946 by paralyzed veterans and is dedicated to improving the quality of life for all Americans with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCI/D), including multiple sclerosis, spina bifida, ALS and post-polio. It played a significant role in writing the Americans with Disabilities Act, and made important contributions to the Fair Housing Amendments Act and the Air Carrier Access Act. Membership is free and is open to all individuals with SCI/D. United Spinal was instrumental in getting New York City to create sidewalk curb ramps and accessible public transportation that has been used as a model for many United States cities.

Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click appropriate link.
Paul Tobin

Jim Weisman

Alexandra Bennewith, MPA

Media contact:
Ahvi Spindell                                                                 
Media Relations Services
United Spinal Association                                             
(212) 580-4567                                                                
Twitter @ahvispin 

SOURCE United Spinal Association