The other night I was channel surfing and landed on "The Fashion Police" with Joan Rivers. Now normally I would just skip over such a shallow and boring program, which in my opinion has no relevance whatsoever, had it not been for a comment made by Joan Rivers regarding one of the female contestants bony frame, who was wearing a backless dress. She made the observation that the starlet looked as if she as born with spina bifida!
Now, most people would have not paid much attention to this comment, or perhaps asked the question to themselves, What's that? However, given the fact that I was born with this very common, but little-known-about birth defect — where the spina column fails to close properly, resulting in varying degrees of disability — my interest was immediately piqued!
It was at this point I had two options: I could either be offended and angered by such a crass statement, or be glad that someone in the media knew just what spina bifida was, and her statement could be the spark that was needed to open up a dialogue about spina bifida and the thousands of people — many of them in Monroe County, myself included, who despite having this disability are able to live full and productive lives!
Given the fact that I consider myself to be somewhat of a glass-half-full type of person, I have chosen to applaud Joan Rivers for her observations — as off-handed as they may have been — and I encourage her and anyone else who asks the question "What is spina bifida" to take the time to find out more about it, and the truly amazing people who are remarkable examples of what is possible despite their challenges.