THE LIONS CHANGED MY LIFE A Novel Gift Jessica McFadden wants to use the power of words to uplift those who don’t believe they can have dreams, let alone achieve them. Diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a toddler, 18-year-old McFadden, legally blind, also has had lifelong mobility challenges. To cope with the stress of feeling like an outcast throughout her childhood, in seventh grade she began writing stories. She discovered that escaping into her fictional worlds not only helped her but that she loved writing. As a freshman at Denison University in Ohio—with a new iPad and a scholarship from the East Knox Lions—she’s on her way to realizing her dream of becoming a novelist and serving as an inspiration for others with disabilities. Q&A: Jessica McFadden How did you get started writing? Growing up being blind and wearing a leg brace singled me out and made me different, something every kid dreads with a passion. Books had been my escape, and then I began writing stories and working on a novel. I was able to infuse all of the chaotic emotions I felt into the story plot, giving me an excellent outlet to express myself. It helped me embrace what made me different, and my social life at school improved. What do you like to write about? I’m most interested in paranormal romance set in the medieval or Victorian eras. My current novel is set in 1800s Transylvania and involves witches and vampires. How is the iPad helping you at college? The iPad is extremely helpful with my poor vision. I use the VoiceOver feature, and it also has a dictation feature that records lectures. The iPad has made doing Internet research, writing and emailing my professors so convenient and easy. I also love how easy it is to work on my novel in my free time. How is college going so far? I’ve always had horrible vision, so I don’t really know what I’m missing, which I’m grateful for. But I do have a slightly more difficult time orienting to new places and navigating new surroundings. It’s been an adjustment, but I’ve been so excited for my classes and the social opportunities on campus. And as an English and creative writing major, you’re able to pursue your dream. The extremely challenging obstacles I’ve faced in life are what inspired me to become a writer. If I become successful, I want my example to be an inspiration to those with disabilities who doubt their strength and self-worth because of the hand they’ve been dealt. Jessica McFadden (left) learns how to use her new iPad and downloads accessibility apps with the help of an Apple store employee. A FIRED-UP READER David Stedman of the Fort Atkinson Lions Club in Wisconsin took his LION to the battlefields of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania. Not unlike the cover subject, Betty Sue Harris of the Canton Lions in Michigan did some climbing of her own on the Galapagos Islands. Kit Craighead (left) of the Colfax Lions and Past District Governor Rich DeCuir of the Sacramento Embarcadero Lions in California check out the LION while taking a break on White Cane Day. Want to be in the LION? Send a picture along with your name, Lions club, hometown and photo description to email@example.com. Lions, has your club heard from a recipient of your service or charity? Tell us about the feedback you’ve received from those whose lives you’ve changed for the better. Email a brief description to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include “Thank You” in the subject line.
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