Barrier Free Me: Meet Kirsy Rodriguez

As a therapist working at Magee, I’ve gotten the chance to meet many strong and courageous individuals who have overcome both little and big obstacles each and every day. As an acute inpatient rehabilitation hospital, Magee gets the opportunity to serve individuals and families affected by a multitude of injuries including stroke, brain injury, spinal cord injury, and amputation. Each day our patients make progress, achieve goals, and learn to believe in a way back following a life-changing injury.

A young woman who knows first-hand about hard work, hope, and perseverance is Kirsy Rodriguez. When she was just nine years old, doctors discovered Kirsy had a serious life-threatening tumor on her spinal cord. Following two surgeries, she now uses a wheelchair. Despite having to experience life in a new way sitting down, Kirsy made a promise to herself to continue to pursue life with a grateful sense of spirit and big smile on her face. Her positive outlook and compassion for others is inspiring to all. Throughout her life, she never conformed to stereotypes that were laid out for her. She took her two biggest passions, makeup and fashion, and decided to use them as a form of self-expression and pride. She creatively came up with effective techniques to apply her makeup despite having limited mobility in her hands and arms. She loves the confidence boost good makeup gives her and finds makeup application and beauty to be a form of escape and relaxation. She is able to apply makeup independently which those living with a disability would agree is an incredible feeling!

I was fortunate enough to recently get to talk to Kirsy through email where she expressed her gratitude for getting a chance to share her story through the Magee blog. When I asked her if there was anything she wanted readers to know, she said, “Disability is what you make of it. You can highlight the dis in the word or emphasize the ability. When I created my blog, I did it with the idea that the only limits we sometimes have are the ones we place on ourselves”. Kirsy refers to the term “barrier free” when describing her disability. She compares it to a physical structure, such as a building, that is completely accessible to those with limited mobility. She applies this way of thinking to different areas of her life and tries not to let her physical limitations keep her from trying out new things.

To learn more about Kirsy, check out her website where she provides viewers with product reviews and makeup tutorials. She wants all viewers to be inspired and empowered despite any challenges they may be facing. She sure inspired me!


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