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All around us people with disabilities are doing extrordinary things. (A call for stories).

For example: Manoru Samuragoch has a severe hearing disability--he is completely deaf in his left ear and can hear only slightly with the help of a hearing aid in his right. Despite this condition, Manoru has become a renowned music composer for Sony's Playstation 2. Dubbed a "digital-age Beethoven," his music has been described as haunting and majestic.

* Anda Vidal has competed in the World Recreational Team Skating Championship even though she has Lupus. She has learned to deal with her disease on days of competition. It can flare up indiscriminately and without warning, leaving her with a discomfort in her joints that is so debilitating she can not walk. Anda has fecund ways to redirect her pa so it actually increases her focus when she skates.

* Sarah Morris has Cerebral Palsy. She's also a huge Los Angeles Dodger's fan who happens to live in Anderson, Texas. Sarah's created her own web site to cover the team. Unable to use her arms, Sarah types out her stories with the aid of a head pointer. During the season, she works 55 hours a week writing five to seven game reports, several editorials, and researching upcoming games. In her articles, Sarah feels free to criticize managers' strategies as well as the batting stances of star players.

* Since he was a child, Steve Mikita has had Spinal Muscular Atrophy. The disease left him unable to walk. Undeterred, Steve graduated from Duke University and the University of Utah Law School. He is currently the and has argued many cases before the state Supreme Court. He travels the country telling his story.

* At age 38, Art Mellor learned that he had Multiple Sclerosis. An MIT graduate, at the time of his diagnosis Art was chief technology officer of Gold Wire Technology, a firm he cofounded. Three years later, he is the president of the non-profit Boston Cure Project for Multiple Sclerosis. With help from his neurologist Dr. Tim Vartanian, Art is trying to identify what needs to be done in MS research, locate the research gaps, and find the right people to fill them.

These are extraordinary stories about people with disabilities. Unfortunately, they are given little or no coverage by the traditional media. To deal with this problem, we have founded No Limits Media. NLM is a national, non-profit organization established in 2001 to create television, print and Internet projects for the disability community of America. These products are designed to help forge a sense of common identity and personal empowerment among people with disabilities. NLM is committed to developing these projects in collaboration with people with disabilities, advocacy groups, public agencies, and individuals who work to improve the lives of people with disabilities.

Our first project was the acclaimed book Raising the Bar, a look at the accomplishments of athletes with disabilities. The book carried an essay about the rise of the parathletic movement, along with stunning photographs of these athletes in action. Raising the Bar was hailed as a publishing breakthrough that profoundly moved those that read it.

Currently, we are engaged in two major projects. The first is a television magazine-style series that focuses on the lives of people with disabilities. We have created two pilots hosted by the nationally renowned anchor and disability activist Bree Walker. The pilots aired in San Francisco in January, 2003. We are seeking funding for a 13-part series that will be broadcast by AT&T Broadband.

Our other project is called The Gift. The book's theme is that every disability carries a gift that enables people with that disability to understand life in a new and profound way. This sensibility is the common thread that unites all people with disabilities.

The Gift will be structured around a series of "short stories" of between three to five pages. Like the stories above, The Gift will cover a range of disabilities and describe the lives of people with disabilities.

To be as inclusive as possible, we would like to solicit stories from the disability community. You can provide us with stories and the names of people to contact based on your experience. Please send your suggestions to epedit@aol.com with the subject line, "A Call for Stories."

We hope to make The Gift as much of a breakthrough book as Raising the Bar. With your help we know this can be accomplished.

Artemis Joukowsky is Chairman of the Board of No Limits Media. He has Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Artemis is also a board member of the Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy. He is a venture capitalist and the co-author of Raising the Bar.

Larry Rothstein is a best-selling author and a co-founder of No Limits Media. He is the co-author of Raising the Bar.
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Author:Joukowsky, Artemis; Rothstein, Larry
Publication:The Exceptional Parent
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2003
Words:788
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