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The Resiliency Project

The Resiliency Project

Seeing beyond the disability

Resilience30Sometimes when people see someone with a visible scar or disability, it is hard to look beyond the obvious difference. Even today, they may still stare, point or even ask what happened and why when they see someone with a disability.

Many patients of Shriners Hospitals for Children have visible scars or disabilities that put them at greater risk for being bullied. To help the public see the strengths and value of people with disabilities, rather than just the disability itself, one hospital initiated a new program.

In 2015, Shriners Hospitals for Children — Salt Lake City partnered with professional photographer Cole Wilson to create a special photo installation featuring patient portraits. The display became known as The Resiliency Project.

In the installation, compelling black and white close-up portraits of children are juxtaposed against zoomed out, full body photographs that reveal what makes them Shriners Hospitals for Children patients – such as a prosthesis or wheelchair. First you see the character of the patient and then you see their disability. The photos challenge audiences to see past the braces, the chairs, the prosthetics – and see the person. A kid. A Shriners Hospitals kid. A resilient kid. The photographs capture moments displaying each child's personality – showcasing them as an individual - more than just someone with a disability.Resiliency41

Several patients are featured in the exhibit, including Hunter who was born with fibular hemimelia, a shortening or absence of the fibula in the lower leg. The condition resulted in his feet being amputated when he was 11 months old. He was told he could never walk, so he decided to run instead. Following surgery, Hunter was fitted with two prosthetic legs and quickly began to walk, run and eventually play sports with his two older brothers. He has not allowed his disability to define him.

Other patients featured include Zoey, a vibrant 10 year-old known for her smile and quick wit. Born with cerebral palsy, a condition affecting muscle tone, movement and coordination, Zoey uses a wheelchair and has, unfortunately, endured bullying. Even so, she continues to hold her head high with confidence and encourages others who have been bullied to do the same.

The photo gallery has been displayed in the lobby at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Salt Lake City, the Salt Lake City Public Library and most recently at the Utah State Capitol. Those who have seen the exhibit say that it serves as an excellent reminder to look beyond one’s disability and #SeeTheAbility in everyone.

 

 

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