“Three years later, each moment in my car brings me happiness. These moments, now frequent, remind me of how far I’ve come.”
If you’re local to the Vermont area, you’ve probably seen me driving around. If you’re following along from a distance, you’ve probably seen my social media posts. Either way, whether through a post or in person, you have all likely seen my brand-new Chevrolet Equinox. To me, this SUV is a celebratory symbol of the renewal of my partnership with the North Country Chevrolet Dealers, entering into Chapter 2 of our partnership.
Chapter 1 started as a shocking surprise. The North Country Chevrolet Dealers arrived at my physical therapy session with the gift of a lifetime, a brand-new Chevrolet Equinox, made accessible for me.
Through the first three years of our partnership, this surprise turned into a constant supportive presence – the car became an integral part of my life and my journey to independence, and this group turned into the people I could always count on.
With social media posts and blogs, we began to grow this community. And through this, we both found another support system, in all of you who follow along.
We shared my experiences, from biking new trails or spending the day skiing to getting on stages to speak to crowds or provide advocacy and support for groups like the Heather Abbott Foundation. We even shared my college graduation, countless hours of physical therapy, and trips through New England all the way to the West Coast. Our posts varied, to say the least, but on each of them, we could count on the engagement and encouragement we always would receive from the community.
What was found beyond the posted photos and written captions, was the personal touches. On times when I worried that far too many posts were revolving around surgeries and medical procedures alone, the North Country Chevy Dealers shared these posts with encouraging words and messages of good luck – and I read comments with the kindest of words. This said to me, once again, that this partnership was not one of the specific expectations, but was one of genuine championship and support of the other.
And in the other moments, when life, and therefore the posts as well, were far more uplifting, centered around adventure, independence, and joy, this group encouraged all of this as well. When a new path presented itself, and it was one that I wanted to take, the only question was – how to best get me there?
Though Chapter 1 was an exciting beginning, with many new roads found, I am even more excited for what is to come in Chapter 2.
Chapter 2 began not as a surprise, but this time, as a purposeful decision. I joined the North Country Chevy Dealers at Hotel Vermont in Burlington, Vermont, where we had time to catch up with one another, this time in person. I was able to hear what each of us hoped for in the years to come, and then once again – ending our day with another gift of a lifetime.
The gift of a car, almost the same as the first, another Equinox adapted with hand controls, but also different. Its new pearly white color, an interior with red stitching on the seats, and brand-new features (like a sunroof!), making it once again, a dream car for me.
Along with the new features were the familiar comforts. This Equinox seems a perfect size, with such a smooth drive, that I permanently feel safe behind the wheel no matter any conditions around me or surfaces beneath me. The trunk fits my wheelchair, ski, or bike, perfectly. It also has plenty of room to fit my suitcase and belongings when I take off on my next adventure. It’s a car that fits my lifestyle and my accessibility needs.
As I drove home in that new car, I thought over what had just happened that day, and where I knew it would take us. The message that I took home with me of Chapter 2, was an overall feeling of excitement and hope, as well as a mutual agreement that though we were three years into this partnership, we were only just beginning.
I hope for this chapter to have more personal touches, through activities like road trips to each Chevrolet Dealership to meet with staff and local communities. I know this chapter will be both about personal and community growth so that I can reach this network in new ways. And, I know, that engagement will remain the same – from me to all of you. My posts aimed only to remain genuine and true, to be honest in all that I share, and in turn, to get to hear from many of you.
I know that in this chapter, we will look back on the roads already taken, and on the new roads to soon be traveled.