Richard is who I credit for the way I am.
Through him, I learned about compassion, tolerance, acceptance, and empathy towards others. He may be disabled and/or in a wheelchair, but he is a person, and I expect others to treat him as I do whenever I'm around: with dignity and respect. TONS of dignity and respect!
Richard has cerebral palsy. He suffered brain damage as he was being born; it left him with the lifelong sentece of spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, which, simply put, he cannot control his arms or legs. Richard cannot walk or talk, but his facial expressions or noises speak volumes. He has his own special way of communicating.
Richard can see and hear; he just cannot do much of anything else. That saddens me greatly because he has missed out on so much in life, but he is not one to complain. Richard has taught me to enjoy (and embrace) the simple things in life. He has taught me to slow down and enjoy the ride (as my other brother, Tighe, tells me).
I like to help mom and dad take care of Richard. I don't mind giving him a bath, dressing/undressing him, stretching his limbs, feeding him, or changing him. Being with my oldest brother makes me realize just how blessed I am because I can walk, can think for myself, can take care of my needs, and even go to school/learn. Richard can't. Sometimes it makes me feel bad, but I don't want to pity him. He is my brother; he is not an object to be pitied!
I can't tell you how many times I have gotten into fights with people because they said something about Richard that truly made me mad or treated him as if he were invisible! I tell them if they can't learn to accept him as a human, then they have absolutely no business in being my friend!
When I get out of high school, I would like to go to college and become a physical therapist. I would like to help other people reach the maximum of life's experiences and help them reach their goals in overcoming any disabilities or illnesses they might have. It is because of having a brother like Richard that led to this decision. I knew I wanted to be a therapist ever since I was twelve years old. (I'm now sixteen.)
Well, Richard needs me (his bedroom light above the door is flashing), so I'd best tend to him and get this day started. I will write in here again soon; until later, this is Sarah Beth McNeel saying so long and God bless! He's certainly blessed me by giving me an older brother like Richard; Richard is the best! I just love him so much!