One local man's take on Spina Bifida
Updated: Wednesday, October 30 2013, 07:59 PM EDT
Victor, N.Y. - Like most people, 43-year-old Tom Turner loves music.
He also loves to work out, at least an hour each day.
But how Turner goes about his day looks different.
Turner was born with Spina Bifida.
It's a condition that means split spine.
It happens in the womb, when the baby's spinal column doesn't close all the way.
It’s the most common permanently disabling birth defect in the United States.
According to the Spina Bifida Association, about eight babies a day are born with the condition.
Turner was born with one of the most severe forms, Myelomeningocele, also called Spina Bifida Cystica.
It’s a condition that's kept turner relying on a wheelchair and leg braces.
“It was frustrating at times, I often made the statement, 'mom I hate my legs,' because they didn't work,” Turner said while recalling his youth and not being like other children.
But Turner said it was his parents who helped him to see life in another way.
“I have very honest parents and they told me you're the same as they are but you just do things differently,” Turner said.
Turner hasn’t let anything hold him back and said he tries to enjoy life like anyone else.
“If I’m not at the race track in Canandaigua, we’ve got NASCAR on the television and dirt races,” Turner said.
“I had a doctor once tell me it's agony and ecstasy,” Tom’s mom, Donna Turner said. “One day there will be agony, the next day, the world is again beautiful and to learn the rollercoaster of that takes patience.”
“But we've done it and it's been a good life,” Donna said.
Turner said life can be good.
He spreads that message now to young kids and adults faced with the same challenges in life.
“We all have bad days but I try not to let things get me down,” Turner said. “Just know that I'm a human being on this earth like everybody else and we're all trying to do the same thing, get through life and there's a reason why I'm here.”
October is Spina Bifida awareness month.