The Voice of Ability Series

Kerschen 1 - Student understands God has reason for disability

By Matthew Kerschen
(Editor’s note: This is the first in a brief series by Matthew.)
My name is Matthew Kerschen. I am 22 years old and a student at Wichita State University. I was born without complications, but met none of my age milestones and have never walked independently.
I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at age one and had many surgeries to help me walk. While in grade school, I played baseball and had several friends. I started playing the trumpet in fifth grade and continued through my sophomore year of high school until I no longer had the ability.
Middle school was enjoyable but after transferring to a different high school that was more accessible, I lost all my friends. To say the least, it was a very difficult transition. I never made very many friends during those four years, and to make things worse I chose not to get involved.
Halfway through my sophomore year, the nerves in my hands started to tingle and tighten. I was diagnosed with neuropathy and my muscles began to atrophy. I remember coming home from school to grab a snack and crying because I couldn’t open a bag of chips. It became hard to write.
I saw many neurologists but none of them could give me any answers. Eventually, I learned that I wasn’t going to receive a diagnosis and that whatever I had I would have to live with and accept.
Now even the simplest tasks are very difficult, and I have multiple tools to help me manage day to day tasks. I recently purchased a vehicle converted for my needs.
When I first started to lose muscle tone, I used to hate God for giving me this disease. Now I believe this was his plan from the very beginning. He gave me this disease because he knew I could handle it, and I had a special role to play.
I just didn’t know what that was until recently.

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