MONTICELLO — On Tuesday, January 24, Sullivan County native Lee Karasik was at Ethelbert B. Crawford Public Library in Monticello to speak about his experience with a disability known as …
MONTICELLO — On Tuesday, January 24, Sullivan County native Lee Karasik was at Ethelbert B. Crawford Public Library in Monticello to speak about his experience with a disability known as Cerebral Palsy.
Karasik began the speech by explaining how he developed this disability.
“... They did the emergency C-section and when I was delivered, the umbilical cord was wrapped around my neck and I lost oxygen, I like to say for about 30-45 seconds. That loss of oxygen is actually the reason why I have a very mild form of Cerebral Palsy” Karasik explained.
Karasik went on to discuss how making friends with a disability was proven to be difficult. Karasik explained how the common misconception is that able-bodied people are more intimidated to walk up to a disabled person to strike up a conversation but in actuality the roles are reversed.
“It’s more intimidating in reality for me to get to know somebody who is able-bodied” said Karasik. This struggle would continue throughout middle and high school.
Even though he struggled throughout his academic life, Karasik wanted to become an inspiration to people everywhere who have a disability. After he graduated from Monticello high school in 2005, Karasik became a NYS EMT, Co-captain for the Jeffersonville Volunteer First Aid Corp, CPR/First Aid instructor, a S.K.I.P instructor as well as being on the WSUL 98.3FM Heart-A-Thon committee. He also went on to say that he joined the Red Cross as a volunteer during high school and stayed with them for 15 years after the September 11th incident.
“I didn’t volunteer to be recognized, I volunteered because so many people have made differences in my life that it was a way especially after September 11th, for me to make differences in other people’s lives,” said Karasik.
A major issue according to Karasik is accessibility. He discussed how businesses aren’t always accommodating for the disabled so they are often victimized. He shared a story in which in public places like Walmart he would sometimes need to use the restroom, and in those restrooms are specific stalls made for people with disabilities. He said he often finds people who are able-bodied utilizing those stalls that are meant for the disabled.
“We’re living in 2023 now, accessibility shouldn’t have to be something that people look past. Everything should be inclusive,” said Karasik.
Karasik said he hopes that more people will be inclined to learn about these kinds of disabilities and to be kinder to those who have them.
“The only way that we’re ever going to learn is if we ask the questions,” he said. “The only way that we’re ever going to get smarter and become a more inclusive community is if we start asking questions.”
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here