As part of a new way to help inspire equality, we will be posting semi-regular articles on people with disabilities that have surpassed the expectations set upon them by others. Today’s post addresses quadriplegic Janet Barnes.
Janet Barnes was born in Illinois and spent much of her early childhood unable to move. Doctors were pessimistic and told her parents that she would not live past 14 years old. After 83 years of what Janet calls “a life well lived,” last year Janet Barnes set the new world record for the longest living quadriplegic. Barnes’ independent living specialist once interviewed Barnes for the Services for Independent Living newsletter. McClintock recalls the interview saying “She wouldn’t focus on [her aches and pains.] She focused on the stuff she’d done in her life, her children and her husband… I consider her my life coach.”
Janet Barnes has a self-published biography/memoir entitled “90-Pound Heavyweight.” In it, she states, “I would not trade places with anybody. I’ve learned more than anybody could ever learn, and that’s for sure.” People like Janet Barnes help remind us that the barriers set up by the term “disability” are only imaginative and that through determination, anything is possible.
"I have not been handicapped by my condition. I am physically challenged and differently able." - Janet Barnes