Anyone who knows Yvonne Milton knows that she is the sweetest angel that we are blessed to see here on earth. That is no understatement! Yvonne’s bubbly personality and charming nature seem to reflect an inner calm and comfort that many of us will never garnish for ourselves only because we choose not to. Her smile appears to belie the fact that she lives with Spina Bifida, yet… Yvonne is one of the happiest people I know!!!
Here is Yvonne’s story…
Twenty-seven year old, Yvonne Milton was born with a congenital birth anomaly–Spina Bifida is amongst the most common birth defects in the world and is the result of improper formation of the bones around a baby’s spinal cord. With a large enough opening, the spinal cord may protrude through the bone and form what is commonly called a “bubble” which is then visible to the untrained eye. Even with there being no known cause for this condition that occurs within a fetus, studies have shown that an increase in folic acid intake by the mother prior to conception could actually decrease the likelihood of Spina Bifida.
Yvonne Milton was one of those babies who was born with her spinal cord on the outside of her body. She chuckled as she described her “bubble” and relayed that a majority of these babies will have a surgery to close the hole, yet it does not restore missing functional capacities. Yvonne feels blessed that, unlike so many others, she does not lead a life that is confined to a wheelchair. She is able to move around with the assistance of a walker. The most fortunate result of that for Yvonne is the fact that she can live on her own freely!
During our discussions, we joked about the concerns of living on your own as a (young) female. I shared with Yvonne my wonderment at hearing her be so excited about such a thing while reminiscing on how I’ve often been concerned about living on my own in the past. She quickly retorted that it took quite some time for her to adjust! Acknowledging that this was a huge step for her, it hasn’t been the most difficult aspect of her life’s journey…
Over half of students living with Spina Bifida face academic struggles, most specifically, in math and reading. This is a fact that Yvonne was unaware of until recently. Growing up, she was aware that she was enlisted into Exceptional Student Education programs for students with cognitive challenges. What Yvonne did not know, however, was that completion of this program within high school would leave her without a high school diploma.
This information, when received all too late, seemed to shatter Yvonne’s dream of graduating with her diploma, going to college and being able to lead a normal adult life, but Yvonne bounced back quickly! She enrolled herself into a GED program shortly thereafter and despite the five year duration in her studies, Yvonne never quit! She pressed her way and even had to take the completion course about five times before she passed, and so she did!
Yvonne earned her GED in 2010 and directly enrolled into her college program where her goal is to become an educator. Yvonne Milton would like to work with children who face similar struggles. Understanding that some of her teachers were not as helpful as she would have liked for them to have been, she endeavors to provide such eagerness and attention to her own students.
Even though there have been times where she questioned herself and didn’t believe that she could accomplish her educational goals, Yvonne Milton now advises herself and others to, “Never Give Up! Never quit! Always believe in yourself and always keep fighting!”
Yvonne Milton is a true testament to the fact that passionate pursuit will help one find purpose!
Thank you for yourself story Yvonne! Thank you for sharing!!!
“Keep God first! Love and cherish yourself. Know your worth!”
– Yvonne Milton
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