Easter Seals ambassador an inspiration for those with disabilities.
A small town girl is helping other members of Easter Seals overcome their insecurities.
The 35th Annual Easter Seals Telethon was held at Central Park Athletics on April 2, 2017 to raise funds to provide services for children and adults with disabilities.
This year, the telethon raised more than $200,000 in six hours. The funds are used for assistance with purchasing equipment such as wheelchairs, walkers and communication devices. Other services include a summer camp experience at Easter Seals camps and scholarships.
Lakeshore resident Morgan Bennett Murphy, 18-year-old Easter Seals ambassador, has been involved with the organization since she was seven.
Murphy published a YouTube video in June titled “This is my story” where she described her journey as a young person with a disability.
“I have scoliosis and three fingers on each hand. I also have shortened and rotated forearms. We don’t have a diagnosis for that yet and we don’t think we will get one,” said Murphy. “Because of the curvature of my spine, it was crushing my lungs so only 50 per cent of my left lung was functioning. I had trouble breathing constantly and it felt like a boulder was resting on top of me.”
Murphy said she had 10 reconstructive surgeries where they placed a growing rod in her back to prevent her spine from rotating and curving. Every few months, doctors would operate on her spine and expand it so it could grow along with the rest of her body. She is now less than five feet tall.
When she was 12, doctors performed a final fusion of her spine where they used three titanium rods which stunted her growth.
Working with her at Easter Seals is Mike Kelly, former board director, chairman of the annual telethons for five years and a committee member of 25 years.
“This organization helps children and their families,” said Kelly. “It raises funds so that we can give them more opportunities to express themselves.”
Kelly said he has been working with Murphy for eight years, ever since she joined Easter Seals.
“Morgan is one of the most optimistic people I know,” said Kelly. “She wants to help other kids with their disabilities and help them overcome their fears.”
Murphy said at first when she was younger, she would often get upset. Once she got older, she stopped caring about what people thought of her.
“Once I stopped caring, I began to feel more confident and be okay with who I was,” said Murphy. “Seeing other kids with disabilities and embracing who they were helped me be able to embrace myself and be more open, which is why I feel the need to be strong and tell my story for other kids.”