#7D4H - Guest Blogger Robbi Van Schoick #Disability

About the guest blogger: Robbi first started showing symptoms of Friedreich’s ataxia at age five. Her mom, a physical therapist, began to notice her widespread gait, highly arched feet, and lack of coordination. But without genetic testing, her suspected diagnosis of Friedreich’s ataxia was not confirmed. Robbi’s younger sister began to show symptoms of FA as well, and by the time Robbi turned 15, both girls were using wheelchairs. Robbi graduated high school in the top 10 percent of her class, then graduated cum laude from the University of Georgia, where she won a psychology department award for the best undergraduate paper on the ameliorating effects of dietary behavior on FA. Robbi went on to complete a master’s degree in public health, which she pursued one class at a time.

Blog Title: Dedicated lovingly to my sister Becca and her Canine Assistants service dog Kringle

Christmas 2010

Published in “In A Dog’s Heart”, written by the founder of Canine Assistants, Jennifer Arnold.

To Love Her

Every Creature that is wise enough to obey the inner voice,

The inner voice that calls and directs and points to the path

Has a divine purpose, a reason to live

I am uneducated, although I had excellent trainers,

Nor am I a productive employee, working solely to earn a paycheck

I am not a paid worker, at all

My purpose is the only thing I know

My purpose is to love her.

Maybe her voice has been inside me all my life

It must be so

Because she is all I know

I do not merely follow her

As though I have no choice but to tag along

Rather, I walk beside her

Because I choose to follow the voice that leads me

My purpose is to love her

Yes I am the best at what I do. I am even better at loving her than her people,

most of the time

I know this because she tells me so, when she gives me the praise I need

I especially love waking up tangled with her

When we are a gnarled mass of ivory limbs and golden coat

I wake and rise as nature intended for me

And I reluctantly wait for her to finish her sleep, feeling purposeless without her

She is my soul mate, my partner

My purpose is to love her

My only purpose with meaning is to love her

Call to action: Do you have important information around disability that you want to share with a wider audience? Do you or a loved one currently live and/or struggle with disability related issues? Do you work in research, advocacy, prevention, treatment or care? We want to hear from YOU! Write to us today: 7dresses@artsconnectinternational.org to become a featured blog writer. Another way to get involved is to wear the color of the day in solidarity. Take a picture of yourself in the color of the day and Tweet it @ArtsConnectInt, tag us on Instagram @ArtsConnectInt, or send it to us on Facebook

About 7 Dresses 4 Health (7D4H): 7D4H is a year-long arts and health education campaign lead by visual artist, Marian Brown, in conjunction with Arts Connect International. The objective of the campaign is to promote inclusive community practices through adDRESSing health artistically and collaboratively. To learn more about the genesis of the project, read Marian’s New Year Blog

About today's look: All of the dresses for 7 Dresses 4 Health were designed and sown by Kim's Fashion Design. Love the look? Visit Kim at 100 Huntington Ave, Boston MA 02116, call her at (617) 267-9299 or email her: info@kimsfashion.com. Mention 7 Dresses 4 Health for a special discount!

Campaign Update (2017): All 7 Dresses 4 Health blogs were migrated from a former site, so the sharing analytics are inconsistent from when they were first published. We apologize to our guest bloggers, and readers, for this inconvenience. That said, the campaign garnered an average of 5K hits per blog, over 500,000 readers throughout 2015! Additionally, the average number of shares per guest blog was over 150x on social media (through Facebook and Twitter). Thank you for making this incredible campaign possible - and for all that it was for so many. With gratitude, Marian & the ACI Team