January 20 is a day dedicated to the social acceptance of disability and to honor the late Annie Hopkins, SMA type II, who is the founder of 3E Love and creator of the International Symbol of Acceptance.

Acceptance is created from an Empowered movement that Educates others to Embrace diversity and Love Lifeby seeing beyond abilities.

Cure SMA, along with many others in the SMA community, will be celebrating the International Day of Acceptance by sharing what acceptance means to them and why the social acceptance of disability is so important.

Below are some #DayOfAcceptance stories from members in the SMA community. Share yours on our Facebook page!

“Living in a society free of barriers, judgment, and ignorance to those with disabilities is acceptance. This is achieved by first acknowledging the person, not the disability. Everyone has different weaknesses, and one of mine just happens to be physical and visible. Social acceptance is important for me because it allows me to feel like an important member of society and not an outcast. I challenge you to embrace diversity and accept the person within.”
–Jaclyn Greenwood (pictured above)

“My name is Kevin Schaefer and I am a Junior at NC State University. I’m also on the editorial staff of the school newspaper. As someone who’s lived with a muscular disease since birth, acceptance is important to me because I can contribute to society as much as anyone else. Like everyone else I go to school, work and have an active social life. I may do things differently than able-bodied people, but my limitations aren’t enough to stop me from living. I’m working on an English degree and I hope to do something in film journalism. #DayOfAcceptance”

“Acceptance is a basic human necessity; it is something we all desire to receive, but something most must work to give. Stigmas affixed to those with disabilities can prevent acceptance that is so greatly desired, and that is why the International Day of Acceptance is so crucial. This day coupled with other movements aimed at breaking barriers will soon foster a world in which people will no longer see physical limitations, but vast capabilities. And that is a world I look forward to seeing.”
–Claire Gibbs

“Acceptance to me is not having to knock down barriers because society is no longer creating barriers. Growing up my family always treated me the same as my siblings. It wasn’t until I started going to school that I realized I was different. Besides my disability progressing and it being more apparent that I was different as I began using a power chair. I constantly had to be more outgoing to show people I was ‘normal’ and like ‘everyone else.’ I constantly had to be knocking down barriers to go to college and get the career I have but acceptance to me is being judged not for my disability but for my abilities because I can do everything my able bodied peers can, just differently. It’s all about awareness and our voices have to be heard.”
–Hugo Trevino

“My name is Melissa Milinovich and I have Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Having been a wheelchair user my entire life, society seeing me for me and not the wheelchair is a dream of mine. I strongly believe that we are only limited by the limitations we put on ourselves and society in general needs to understand that a disability does not mean an inability to do anything. My daughter, Claudia, has never seen my disability; I am merely ‘Mommy’! We could learn a lot from the innocence of a child”

“Ac•cept•ance- The action or process of being received as adequate or suitable, typically to be admitted into a group. I am more than adequate and suitable for what I want to do or be in life. Self acceptance is being loving and happy with who you are now. It’s an agreement with yourself to appreciate, validate, accept, and support who you are at this moment. Now, if everyone else in this world would see what I see in myself, the world would be a better place, not just for me, but them as well. Strength, peace and serenity are available when one stops struggling to resist, or hang on tightly to what is so in any given moment. I celebrate acceptance because I live with SMA. It does not define me. It does not stop me. I am determined. I am funny. I am loved! Love-Luke”
– Luke Bertsch

“Having SMA, I’ve come to accept that I’m different, but aren’t we all different in some form or another? The acceptance of disabilities is important to me because I want to be able to be accepted by society for who I am with and without my wheelchair. I want people to see that it’s okay to be different and to fully embrace their differences!”
– Lauren Gibbs

Let the world know what acceptance means to you and learn how you can get involved at the Day of Acceptance website.