Carol is adamant about one thing in her life: she will not be defined by her disability. When she meets new people, Carol hopes they look beyond her cerebral palsy and see the person she really is.
“Many people would use CP as an excuse to be less active. Not Carol,” said Kim Cearlock, who supervises the Boone County Family Resources’ Supported Living site where Carol has lived for more than 20 years. “She refuses to let her physical limitations keep her from living the life she wants to live”
Carol lives her life full-speed-ahead and sometimes has to be reminded to slow down. A native of Columbia, Carol, 65, still works five days week at Central Missouri Subcontracting Enterprises (CMSE) where she’s been employed since its inception more than 40 years ago. Her job has varied over the years depending on her ability and the type of work needed to be completed. Carol has limited use of her left side but rarely lets her physical limitations get in the way of her desire to work.
“Carol is a hard worker and does not like it when she has to miss a day of work,” Kim said.
Since she grew up in Columbia, Carol remains interested in local news and takes pride in her knowledge of the town’s history. Carol is an avid reader who never passes up a trip to Barnes and Noble. Her favorite book is Heidi, which she enjoys reading over and over. She also likes to cook and takes pleasure in trying new recipes. To date, she owns 10 cookbooks.
“I love to read and do recipes,” Carol said, adding “Going places like Wal-Mart and the Columbia Mall make me happy. … I like to go to church on Sundays.”
Each Sunday, a friend picks her up for church where she joins other friends for the service and Bible study.
“Carol has special clothes she only wears to church on Sunday,” Kim said.
Carol, whose parents are deceased, recently saw her only sibling, a brother, for the first time in 17 years. The two haven’t had much contact over the years because the brother lives in Arizona. He usually sends Carol a Christmas present, and she once sent him a video depicting her life. The reunion in April was exciting for both of them, Kim said.
Carol recently used a copy machine for the first time. BCFR staff members usually make copies of Carol’s check ledger each month for accounting purposes and this time asked Carol if she wanted to make the copies herself. Carol smiled and willingly accepted the offer.
“Carol is able to do most things but often needs to be asked to engage in the activity or task,” Kim said. “Carol is 65 but still thrives on learning new things and broadening her knowledge base.”