Don Drapinski
                Don Drapinski

	by Kathleen Lusk
	From the Editor: Just about all people with disabilities 
find ourselves simultaneously admired and pitied by folks around 
us. It is refreshing when the admiration turns out to be 
unsentimental and objective. When such good sense and honesty 
come from a ten-year-old fifth-grader, one finds hope for the 
future kindling despite the nonsense we find ourselves plowing 
through much of the time. The following article was a paper 
written to fulfill a school assignment. Sue Drapinski, Treasurer 
of the NFB of Michigan, thought Braille Monitor readers might be 
interested in reading it; so do I. Here it is:
	Admire: to regard with wonder and approval, to esteem, 
respect (from the American Heritage Dictionary).
	There are many people you could admire in this world. From 
athletes to actors, firemen to police officers, they all work 
hard to do their jobs, and for different reasons people admire 
them. The person I admire does not have a job, but I learn more 
from him than any job can teach you. The person I admire is my 
Uncle Don, and as you read this story, you will understand why.
	My Uncle Don had a regular childhood like anyone else. He 
ran and played with the rest of the kids. He liked to skate and 
play hockey as a teenager. Then something happened. His body 
didn't work as it should, and he started feeling weak. His doctor 
told him he had muscular dystrophy (M.D.).
	M.D. slowly took away Uncle Don's ability to move around 
like he used to. He went from being able to walk to having to use 
a motorized cart (known as an Amigo), to being confined now to a 
wheelchair, unable to get out on his own or make the simple 
movements we all take for granted. M.D. has also cost him his 
vision, and he is now legally blind. He has had many operations 
and long hospital stays. His body has been so weakened that any 
disease may be life-threatening to him.
	Some people would say this is a sad story, but they're 
wrong. My Uncle Don laughs, tells jokes, and loves CD's and audio 
books. He also loves good conversation and isn't afraid to say 
what he thinks. He is very outgoing and enjoys the company of 
others (especially me and my sisters and brother). He is married 
to my Aunt Sue, who takes good care of him. They are both 
involved with the National Federation of the Blind. They attend 
conventions all over the country. They also help others with 
similar challenges.
	In conclusion, my Uncle Donald has shown me more strength 
and courage than anyone else I know. He's never cross with us 
kids, and we never hear him complain. He gives me a good example 
of how to deal with life and all the difficulties you run into.