Living With Passion and Purpose

a woman smiling
Curated by
Waiyee Cheang
Content via In The News
In The News
Curated by
Waiyee Cheang

What does having a life with a disability mean? To Mia Ives-Rublee, it means “living with passion and purpose.”

Mia was born with brittle bone disease. As a wheelchair user, she has discovered a myriad of advantages in many aspects of her life. Things like convenient parking and getting in front of long queues are among some of the benefits. Besides, “who wouldn’t love always having a seat to sit in and not getting foot pain while cruising the malls?”

“But more importantly, living with a disability can cultivate internal benefits that relate to character.”

portrait of a woman

Independence, resilience, and resourcefulness are just some of the traits individuals with disabilities develop. “Talk to any person with a physical disability and you will find out the numerous ways they use creativity to adapt and remain independent,” says Mia.

For instance, an interviewer at YMCA was concerned that Mia would not be able to fulfill one of her duties at work – placing keys on a tall peg board. Mia told her that she “would figure it out,” and that she did.

“That very night, I went to local hardware store and bought a long stick and screw-in hook,” she shares. “Two days later, I was officially hired.”

While Mia was completing her education, she often went to the hospital for surgeries. However, she still managed to be diligent and keep up with her coursework through “home schooling and hard work.”

Once, during the open house at the UNC School of Social Work, Mia fell and had to undergo two surgeries. While many suggested that she should take the semester off, Mia “had no intention of graduating later than [her] peers.” Her perseverance and support from family and friends led her to successfully completing her master’s degree with good grades.

On top of it all, Mia has had opportunities to explore new depths of the world. “Adaptive sports have allowed me to travel to the land of the kangaroos and push along the ancient Danube River,” she shares. Mia’s creative touch has also helped her in sculpting pottery and building computers from scrap.

“To me, living boldly means experiencing life’s ups and downs and pursuing my ambitions and passions.”

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