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People with disabilities share stories of struggle, triumph in new Butte show

disabilities show.jpg
Posted at 11:19 AM, May 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-19 13:19:13-04

BUTTE - Walking down a simple flight of steps is something most of us take for granted every day, but for people with disabilities, this is just one of many big challenges they face in a day.

And that’s why a group of folks living with disabilities wants to share their story at a special event in Butte.

“Let it out and BOOM! I felt the conviction deep in my soul—I have to move forward,” Kristine Merrick, who is confined to a wheelchair, said during her rehearsal.

Eight people are sharing their stories on the stage in a show called "Speaking Our Truth" in which they talk about the struggles of living with a disability.

The stories can be heartbreaking.

“I nursed my 10-month-old on a Thursday night and Friday went and had an angiogram and the angiogram paralyzed my arms, and I was never able to hold my kids again,” said Barb Knapke.

The stories also are inspirational.

“Changed my life not for the better, not for the good, but your life has to go on. I bawled for 20 minutes, and then I was like, ‘Okay, this is what it is,’” said Merrick.

Some of the performers have disabilities that are not as obvious as others.

Chandra Calder has cystic fibrosis and Ashley VanHorne suffers from complex regional pain syndrome.

“We look normal on the outside, but deep down on the inside we are struggling with disabilities as well,” said Calder.

Heather Raymond is dedicating her monologue to her father who recently passed away.

“He kind of pushed me out to be independent and just make sure that I’m okay. Like, just get out there, don’t let anyone get you down, stand up for yourself,” said Raymond.

They will stand together on the stage to tell stories of overcoming adversity.

The show takes place on May 19 and May 20, beginning at 7 p.m. in the East Middle School Auditorium. Admission is $10.