Speeding down the halls, nothing can stop junior Christin Gregory.

Not even Spina Bifida.

Gregory was born with the condition, which was detected during her mother’s pregnancy. Spina Bifida can affect individuals in a variety of ways. For Gregory, it primarily affects her legs. She is unable to feel or move them, which results in the use of a wheelchair for her mobility. As a child, Gregory underwent several procedures, including having a shunt placed in her head to disperse fluid that could accumulate there. In addition, she also had rods put into her back to straighten her spine.

Despite these hurdles in her younger years, Gregory sees herself like any other teenager.

“Everybody has problems, not just the people who have disabilities; so do not beat yourself up if something goes wrong or if you feel like something is going wrong because literally everyone has issues, and it is just that your issues might be a little more visible than others,” she said.

To have a positive mindset about having a disability is important to Gregory., “Things happen for a reason so I might as well be happy; if you go around in life being negative about something you can’t control, then you are just going to be miserable and that won’t help anyone, including yourself,” she said. 

Aside from living with her disability, Gregory has always been into reading and writing from a young age. “Whether it is writing little poems or writing in a notebook about my day, it has just been a part of me,” she said. “I have always enjoyed doing it because it is very therapeutic and I do not have to keep all of my feelings bottled up inside; I can get down on a piece of paper.” 

 Gregory said that the Creative Writing Club has helped her from when she first started in freshman year. “I am getting better at story building and word building. I think that has improved. I have become more expansive and vivid with my details,” she said. “My love for writing and Creative Writing Club makes me a better writer because of the people in there that love to write like me. They help me improve my writing skills.” 

Along with writing, Gregory also enjoys reading. One of Gregory’s favorite authors is Neal Shusterman. “I enjoy reading the Scythe series. I also like the author Jennifer Lynn Barnes, who wrote The Inheritance Games. I also like the books written by J.K. Rowling. I like The Harry Potter series that I am currently reading. I think those books are fascinating,” said Gregory. 

An interesting fact about Gregory is that she wants to be a paralegal when she is older. “My dad is a lawyer, and so I have always been exposed to the law side of things and I enjoy learning about that,” she said. “I think it is interesting. To be a paralegal involves a lot of reading and writing; and because that is stuff I like to do, I think I would benefit from having that as a career I am passionate about.” 

She added, “For being a lawyer, I think it is interesting that there are a ton of different types of lawyers; you are not just stuck at one type of law. The same thing applies to the job of a paralegal. I would not be stuck with doing just criminal cases or just different things like that. I could potentially choose what specific field I want to go into. I like the helping people side of things and also the variety that you get to choose from.” 

Her classes have helped Gregory learn about the paralegal side of her career. “I want to go to college to do that. My SMART period class is based on pre-law, so that would be a good learning experience outside of just my home because my dad is a lawyer,” said Gregory.

Later in Gregory’s future, she hopes to write an autobiography. “I think that would be a good idea,” she said. “I think it will be helpful because there are a lot of people out there who, regardless if they have Spina Bifida like me, struggle with feeling accepted and seen. I honestly think that in most of society, whether or not you have a disability, we all struggle with being seen or being different; and so I think a book may help someone who can realize, ‘Oh this person is in the same situation as me as when I was in first grade or middle school, or whenever.’” 

Story by Meisyn McCoy