Kelsey Cornthwaite

Lives with Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy. She's an All is for All model and AUT student representative who was the focus of one of our pieces of merchandise, designed by Ch'lita

Click to listen to an audio description of this design

On identifying with her disability Kelsey says

For a long time, I didn’t consider myself as being part of the “disability community”. Yeah sure, I have a disability, but I wasn’t one of “them” (whatever that means). I think this type of mindset stems from my limited experience and encounters of positively represented disabled people. But All is for All introduced me to a community of amazing people with disabilities that are doing great work as drivers of change to create a space that encourages accessibility. Being apart of All is for All has made me more open and accepting of my disability.

On misconceptions Kelsey says

One of the biggest misconceptions about disability is that life is a tragedy for disabled people. Your ability is underestimated, with no hope in ever achieving success. It seemed that being able to wake up, get out bed, and going out is an inspirational act that deserves praising. I want people to understand that disability does not equate to a poor quality of life and we do not need pity. I want to be seen as an equal, not someone that needs sympathy or special treatment.

On growing up in Vietnam

I had a great childhood growing up in Vietnam, I loved the culture, the food, the people and the lifestyle. But I have to admit, it was not a welcoming place towards people with disabilities. The environment was not set up for a wheelchair, and the society was not used to people with disabilities. It was uncommon to ever see a disabled person in the streets, let alone one that was living a full and productive life. As a child that was still coming to terms with this sudden onset of a disability, it was difficult. Overall, it was not equipped to support my needs, and ultimately that was why we left Vietnam and moved back to New Zealand.


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