– A Sig Blessing (but really, I’m sharing a Heidi blessing because she’s a blessing to me – and many others)

I’ve just received word that a good friend of ours has finally had some good news come to her.  We were so happy to hear that Dr. Heidi Janz has been awarded the 2010 Tanis Doe Award for Canadian Disability Study and Culture.

Heidi has a professional and personal interest in disability studies.  Heidi believes that her calling – her mission in life – is to be a voice for the disabled. In order to be a credible voice that understands disability, she believes that God equipped her with cerebral palsy. She also considers her natural German stubbornness an asset in this mission.

I know it’s a unique way to look at disability. But that’s who Heidi is.  Besides the above, I also know her to be a dedicated Christian, loyal daughter,   brilliant playwright, faithful friend, creative author and more. She has a riotous sense of humour, is fiercely independent and is one of the best storytellers around. Occasionally she lets me win when we’re playing  our on-line version of scrabble. I should know by now that I shouldn’t take on someone who has a Ph. D. in English Lit.

For the last few months Heidi has been on our church’s prayer list because of complications she’s had with pneumonia, (breathing in general) learning how to swallow and then having to resort to a feeding tube. She battled that and returned back to work at the University of Alberta a few weeks ago.

This recognition is well deserved. It takes an amazing amount of personal strength to be that voice. Heidi deals with her own frailty, people’s perceptions (don’t even get me started on the Vancouver cab driver!), dependence on others for basic care, and the real roadblocks that keep her from getting from point A to point B.  Yet Heidi gets herself out of the door every day to speak, (sometimes rant) for those who don’t have a voice.   This award shows that she’s being heard.

Way to go Heidi – from one of your biggest TAB* fans!

*TAB = According to Heidi there are two kinds of people in the world – the disabled and the “Temporarily Able-Bodied”

PS – Just remembered today that Heidi’s name means “Battle Maiden”.