I Made It!
by Juana M. Ortiz

"I have to accept myself in order for others to accept Juana."

Juana Ortiz was born with cerebral palsy in the Dominican Republic (DR) in 1972. The DR was a poor country with little medical care for a child medical authorities gave little hope of recovery and even less for living a productive life. Prejudices and lack of awareness and resources created what could have been a hopeless situation for the first child of young parents. But voices filled with bleakness wouldn't be accepted by the extended Ortiz family. They vowed to see Juana survive physically and mentally. This is Juana's firsthand account of their love and her resilience.

Life for Juana wasn't much better when she first moved to the United States at the age of fifteen. But though she struggled with the learning process, her mother and father embraced her drive for being enrolled in a public school although older than others, attending high school, and being accepted into college. Despite having all odds against her, she persevered. In college a professor recognized that her greatest talent is found in her ability to write creatively. A new world opened up for Juana, where she shared her joys, fears, triumphs, and successes in a voice that can only belong to this remarkable young woman. Her physical challenges became second, as she revealed how positive she had become.

She isn't afraid to "get real" when sharing how this disability impacts both hers, as well as her family's, daily life. But her accomplishments prove that we can all learn to fly, even if we have broken wings. Juana dedicates the book to her parents who were so deserving of this honor. Readers may also add the inescapable value of mentors who reached out with hands and hearts in order for her to achieve her goals.

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