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“When I was little I’d have like five seizures a day. It was horrible and I was always scared. But one week after my eleventh birthday, my mom and dad decided to get me brain surgery. Now I don’t have to worry about seizures and falling all the time. But I can only use one arm now. And because of the surgery there’s a lot of stuff I don’t know if I can do-- like living on my own and stuff. I met Katie at the Special Olympics office. We’re part of a program where you team up with someone who doesn’t have a disability and become like best buds and stuff. At first I didn’t know what to do because, you know, new people. But then it was like OK-- I’m making a new friend. A real friend. We only see each other every couple weeks, but we’ve watched so much Brooklyn Nine-Nine. And we have so many inside jokes. And we even have our own hashtag. And without Katie, I don’t know man. It would be just like it was before, but I wouldn’t have somebody to do this stuff with. I’m having a really hard time right now. My brother was diagnosed with schizophrenia and he’s going through so much and it’s so, so hard. And sometimes he calls me names but I know he doesn’t mean it. And it’s just so hard. But whenever I feel down and stuff, I can just go in my room and think about all the fun memories I have with Katie.”

(Special Olympics World Games, Abu Dhabi, UAE)
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