Daughter, fiancé, adaptive athlete, cake decorator & friend.

“I live by honesty, authenticity & self respect. At 19 I was diagnosed with hip displaysia & a neural tube defect. Waking up from surgery without feeling & movement in my legs was the worst day of my life. But it was also a turning point. It led the universe to bring some of the greatest challenges & life lessons as well as the best days of my life. Through my injury I met a nurse who became my best friend, connected with my soon to be husband, joined an amazing adaptive community, had a cake on the Today Show & got the chance to learn about myself. My greatest struggle is not my disability itself as much as adapting to the world around me – the reactions, the people & the societal barriers. It’s a physical & mental challenge. Some days are easier than others & I’d be lying if I told you there aren’t still very tough ones. I used to live by the story that I am defined by those around me and how they perceive me. But my new story is that differences are nothing but physical descriptions we assign to ourselves. They have no weight on the value of a person, their potential or their soul. Now, I dwell on possibility & adventure. Success is contentment, relaxation and calm. Beauty has everything to do with the soul and what lies within. Happiness comes from allowing yourself to experience the full range of human emotion. I’m excited to marry my best friend and adaptive adventure buddy in August. Erik has never known me walking and he has never placed limitations on me. I feel most alive when I’m on a mountain on my mono ski surrounded my nature and friends. That’s when my soul feels connected as I experience freedom, joy and independence. Regardless of if it’s a day that I’m on crutches or in my wheelchair – I am ME. Full of imperfections, hopes & dreams, sadness & joy, adventure & contentment, fear & confidence. It all makes up my perfectly imperfect soul as I continue to grow throughout this beautiful, heart wrenching, inspiring adventure called life. I am determined, driven and adaptable. I am Emily. I love my eyes and I am proud of my heart.”


Kristie Dean, Emily, 2019. Digital Photograph. ©Kristie Dean. All rights reserved.

Kristie Dean & Denisha Fisher

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