Stella Young has passed far too young. The loss, for me hits the core. Stella taught me to loosen up, not take everything so seriously and. most importantly, that my child is not extraordinary. She’s not inspiring or heroic just because she gets out of bed. Adelaide is changing the world because she is living each day as her peers do, and this brings a normalcy to achondroplasia. Stella Young will be missed because she was extraordinary.
Stella was an Australian comedian, journalist, and disability rights advocate. Earlier this year the TED talk she gave went viral- and that’s when I started to follow her. Her former colleague, Mark Scott, summed up Young’s immense influence, stating that “Stella helped us understand disability issues by sharing with a raw honesty about her own life and forcing us to reconsider how we think about disability and create an environment where those with disability can best get on with their own lives.” This truly resonates with many regardless of disability, in part because we all just want to get it done-whatever “it” is. Stella’s talk reminded me that I was parenting well- even when other adults have tried to override what I do by letting Addie get away with things because she is small or cute.
Addie is every other child.
As many are not familiar with her, Stella Young had osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), which is a genetic disorder. OI is characterized by bones that break easily, often from little or no apparent cause. OI can vary greatly from person to person, and in a lifetime a person can suffer anywhere from a few to a few hundred fractures. However, despite the fractures, restricted physical activity, and short stature, most adults and children with OI lead productive and successful lives- attending school, developing friendships and other relationships, having careers and families, participating in sports and are active members of their communities.
I hope by sharing her work and story, more people will make changes, advocate and just live! Please watch, or more importantly listen, to her talk below.