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See Keera Shine!

Updated: Nov 27, 2023

Last week, we shared Pavlo's story of how the power of community transcends many of the seemingly insurmountable barriers that often leave people feeling isolated and alone unnecessarily.

You may or may not have noticed one of the other smiling faces in his pictures that belongs to another newish member of the community in Keera Alderman. Keera is yet another of our favorite impact stories that began just over a year ago at our 9th Annual Paralysis Meetup.

Like Pavlo, Keera was a rather reluctant attendee when she arrived with her mother Mickey last September after driving down from their home in Lake Stevens. The then-19-year-old had recently transitioned to using a manual wheelchair full-time due to an extremely rare combination of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and muscular dystrophy and spent much of the first day hanging quietly in the outskirts of the group discussions and breakouts.

But as the day wore, on we caught glimpses of her electric smile as she became more comfortable. "Our group has helped me realize I'm not the only wheelchair user in our state and that's it's OK to be different and have those down days," she recalls.

The Aldermans were some of the first to arrive at the following day's Resource Expo and Keera could not contain her excitement to watch the wheelchair basketball exhibition between Seattle Adaptive Sports and Rainier Adaptive Sports. It wasn't even a week later that we got word that she had attended her first practice with SAS.

She and her mom have been a staple at all our events ever since, and not only did Keera return to this year's Annual Meetup to play with her SAS teammates, she came as a volunteer coach of their youth basketball program. "H&NP has helped me strive for advocacy, seeing my needs in a manual wheelchair and others in a power chairs," she says. "It's helped me advocate to others about normalcy for people in wheelchairs."

It's been a joy to watch Keera come out of her shell as an emerging leader in the group, and it all came full circle at last month's Bowling & Billiards event where she went out of her way to welcome Pavlo, spending extra time conversing with him on her phone via translation apps.

Keera's story is a testament that everyone's recovery journey begins with uncharted territory, but you don't have to navigate it alone. It also highlights the unique position The Here and Now Project occupies within the community as a connection point that can help our members find the resources, outlets, and activities that empower them to reach their fullest potential.

With Thanksgiving just a few days away, we want to thank everyone who has contributed their time talent, or treasure to make these life changing events possible! And if you happen to have a little extra treasure this holiday season we would love if you would consider a meaningful donation to our cause!

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