As part of the Connectable campaign, we will be featuring some of the incredible people with IDDs that live on the First Coast on our blog. One of these people is Martha. Here is her story:
Martha Cody says growing up was hard. Her grandmother who raised her in the 1950s and ‘60s would not let her go to school, or even outside.
“When people saw me, they laughed at me and teased me,” she said. “That’s how I grew up.”
But Martha’s life changed when her brother and sister-in-law began helping her in 2002. Martha said the couple took her shopping, bowling and to many community events like baseball and football games. “I even got to go to Ohio and see snow.” she said.
Eventually, Martha’s brother found Ben’s Place on the Westside. Ben’s Place is a nonprofit serving people with developmental or acquired disabilities. It was started by parents of individuals with developmental disabilities along with the developmentally challenged individuals themselves. They wanted to have a place to socialize with others. Ben’s Place provides daily activities such as arts and crafts, games, dances, physical fitness, music, movies, and a kitchen for cooking instruction. Partly because of the increased social interaction at Ben’s Place, Martha got involved in Special Olympics which she says has become a family affair.
“We bowl, swim, and play basketball together,” Martha said. “I am not cooped up any more. I am free and I am enjoying life! You should have seen my face when I went to Disney World for the first time! I may have a disability, but I don’t let it stop me! I can do anything!”
Do you or your family member have a story? Share it with us here.