Nikita Ustiantsev

Right after my birth they learned that one of my legs was immobile. Doctors tried to treat me, but that made things worse because the treatment provoked the growth of tumor in my spine. My legs wouldn’t move. The tumor destroyed 2 spinal bones, and my legs never developed due to the lack of motion.

I bear no grudges. I was born like that and am used to my state. It is a million times worse when you lose ability to walk as a result of an accident. That is hard to accept indeed.

I have never felt different because I attended an ordinary school. Sometimes, though, people in the street can walk up and give money to me. At first I was shocked. But the thing is, in our society most people think that if you are disabled, you are poor and insane too. Why, my brain works just fine!

Some people are not happy to see me, because my presence may require more attention than usual, as well as extra services. There are awkward situations. Once a cloakroom attendant refused to take my coat and offered me to hang it on the back of my wheelchair in a very rude manner. She lost her job after the incident.

On the contrary, the willingness to help may be obtrusive at times. Some people don’t ask whether you need help at all. You can stand at the crossroads waiting for a friend, and seconds later you find yourself being transported in an unknown direction by some stranger.

I am happy to be independent, and my parents have never been overprotective. You need to be self-reliant because they won’t always be with you.

Most importantly is to avoid self-pity. I don’t ask ‘why’. God never sends you troubles you can’t cope with.

I am a happy man. I have parents, friends, I have love and support. This beats all the troubles.