PARKERSBURG - West Virginia University at Parkersburg is sponsoring a speaking tour in five West Virginia counties in observance of Disability History Week.
Nationally known author Jerry Traylor will speak at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 17 at WVU-P's main campus theater. The event is free and open to the public.
A resident of Fountain Hills, Ariz., and former resident of Parkersburg, Traylor was born with cerebral palsy and his mobility depends on the use of crutches. Because of the caring support he received along the way, he has achieved some remarkable feats. He climbed 14,110 feet to the top of Pikes Peak three times, competed in 35 full-length marathons and jogged 3,528 miles across America, all while on crutches.
Traylor is the author of "Live CAREfully: The Importance of Caring in a Life of Significance." The real-life stories included in his book provide examples of how caring can mold lives and change the world. He demonstrates that the disability does define the individual.
Disability History Week in West Virginia is the third week of October. Legislation requires public schools to provide information on disability history and people with disabilities and also encourages colleges and universities to conduct and promote activities that provide education, awareness and understanding of disability history.
Debbie Richards, special assistant to the president for policy and social justice at WVU-P, is responsible for the outreach project.
"By teaching disability history in schools and delivering awareness programs to our communities, we are taking the necessary steps to ensure that there continues to be movement toward an even more accessible society in the future," she said.
This program is supported in part by a grant from the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and Community and Technical College System. Additional support is pending from several other sources including the WVU at Parkersburg Foundation, Inc., the Oakland Foundation, Kanawha Valley Community and Technical College, and an Education Partnerships Grant from the Office of the Secretary of Arts and Education.
Traylor's tour will also make stops in Jackson, Ritchie, Pleasants and Kanawha counties.
Visits, which are open to the public, are at 7 p.m. Oct. 18 at the First United Methodist Church on Flinn Avenue in Ravenswood and at 7 p.m. Oct. 19 at Pennsboro United Methodist Church on Main Street in Pennsboro.