My Story: "I Was Bullied For The Way I Walked, Today, I Spread Awareness About Disability"

Hasitha Illa was diagnosed with 'Friedreich's Ataxia', a progressive neurological disease when she was just 10-year-old. However, when she moved to India from the US, she realised that her life is not just limited to her disability. She writes a blog to erase the stigma associated with disabled people and also runs her YouTube channel.

India   |   22 Jan 2021 1:32 PM GMT
Writer : Ankita Singh | Editor : Shubhendu Deshmukh | Creatives : Rajath
My Story: I Was Bullied For The Way I Walked, Today, I Spread Awareness About Disability
Till the time I was 10-year-old, everything in my life was going perfect. I was like any other child until my life changed completely. I used to stay in the US with my parents.
Just around that time, I started experiencing out of the ordinary symptoms. I experienced speech impairment and couldn't walk properly. My parents were worried and took me to multiple doctors all around, but they failed to diagnose. After several failed treatments, they finally realised that I had - 'Friedreich's Ataxia', a progressive neurological disease.
That mean, gradually, I wouldn't be able to use my arms or legs, and my ability to speak would decline. It wasn't an easy feat for a child who was so young. I recall how I was bullied because of the way I walked, something I couldn't help.
Other kids would tease me. They called me, 'Penguin', but I had to put up a brave fight and had no choice. Eventually, my social life completely declined. I wasn't accepted by many people, and every day felt like a struggle for my existence.
This continued until I reached my 20's; I had lost complete faith in life, and the drive to live it fully had died. But that's when my mom decided to bring me to India, for a change, and in the hope that I'd feel better.
When I came here, a lot of things changed for the better for me. I mingled with new people and started practising meditation. The change in environment after shifting to India made me realise that there was much more to life than just my disability.
It was almost as if I got a new lease of life -- I found my purpose and decided that I wanted to help others.
I started giving small speeches by educating people about the importance of mental health and meditation. I even started writing a blog to erase the stigma behind disability and show that they have equal potential too.
I have been through many ups and downs, but I realised that I could either spend my life battling the inevitable or making the most of it, for the greater good.

Also Read MyStory: "When I Needed Help, Either I Couldn't Afford It Or Didn't Have Strength To Approach Somebody."

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Contributors

Ankita Singh

Ankita Singh

Trainee Digital Journalist

A literature lover who likes delving deeper into a wide range of societal issues and expresses her opinions about the same. Keeps looking for best-read recommendations while enjoying her coffee and tea.

Shubhendu Deshmukh

Shubhendu Deshmukh

Digital Editor

Shubhendu, the quint essential news junky, the man who loves science and politics in equal measure and offers the complete contrast to it by being a fan of urdu poetry as well.

Rajath

Rajath

contributor

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