heather and family

A New Light Every Day

Heather Jensen - Disability Pride Employee Spotlight

Transparency Reporting Specialist
Center Valley, PA

heather and family

Why are you passionate about Disability Pride?

Having a disability does not make you any different or less valuable than anyone else. I feel it makes you a stronger individual as you encounter so many challenges and struggles daily, but still have the ability to make life a blessed experience.  Each day I am amazed by the strength of my children, who do not even realize some days how amazing they truly are. Being diagnosed with mental and behavioral disorders has brought a new light to my every day. 
My oldest son was recently diagnosed attention deficit disorder (ADD), Bipolar with suicidal ideation, and Generalized Anxiety disorders. He barely leaves the house and would prefer not to. However, he still wakes and goes to work every day.

He still faces his fears outside of our home, every day.  And he still finds ways to appreciate the life he has with the people who love and support him. He is a straight-A student with a lot of talent and potential.

My second son was diagnosed with Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He is on the severe end of ADHD and struggles each day to focus, clear his mind, and function to societal standards, yet, each day he is smiling, playful, silly and ready to take on the world. He finds ways to keep himself busy with fitness, football, video games, and spends a great deal of time helping his grandparents. His mind is always going and he is always learning new things online that may make him a Jeopardy winner one day!

I was diagnosed with purely obsessional (Pure O) obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and ADD.  Each day I struggle with the invasive thoughts that consume my mind and still allow myself to enter into this world, regardless of all the things that my mind wants me to believe will happen. As a mother I cannot allow my diagnosis to affect my every day, and it is a painful, physically draining, battle to ensure that we continue as “normal” as we possibly can as a family. 

So why am I passionate about Disability Pride?... Because it is with pride that I am my sons’ mother, sharing this life, and experience with them. It is with pride that I openly raise awareness of mental health, behavioral disorders, and disabilities of all kind. It is with pride that I cherish those that I have been blessed to encounter since our diagnosis. We can all learn from one another and become part of a supportive community that does not see anyone with a disability, invisible or not, as any different than the next person. Life can be hard enough without any challenges, so to be able to take on life and the world being a little different, but a lot stronger, is something we should all celebrate and be proud of.

Why did you join the INterAbilities Colleague Affinity Network (CAN) and why would you encourage others to become allies for the disabled community?

People with disabilities are the largest and most diverse minority within the population, representing all abilities, ages, races, ethnicities, religions and socio-economic backgrounds. Sadly, because of misinformation and misunderstanding, people with disabilities are often not thought of as equals or valued members of society.  Being a part of the INterAbilities CAN, we can change that. There is an opportunity to learn more about who we all are, as people. It is an opportunity to learn and pass education to others who can then support everyone around them.  It is a group of amazing individuals who have unconditional support, regardless of whether you are disabled or not.  It is a place where everyone truly belongs, and feels like they belong, whether you are “disabled” or just an ally, we are all treated the same. 

heather and son selfie

The INterAbilities CAN is a true representation of Diversity and Inclusion to the full definition. I personally have gained a lot from being a part of this CAN. I believe in what they stand for, what they provide to their members and the community, and their overall mission: The InterAbilities Affinity Network (ICAN) champions disability-related activities that support our Olympus employees and the community, and advances the Company’s initiatives to develop an accessible and inclusive workplace through education, mentoring and volunteerism. Disabilities come in all shapes and sizes, each with unique abilities and challenges.

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