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Special feature: A tribute to Eddie Badescu E-mail
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Written by Wazz the Snow Fox   
Wednesday, 23 March 2011 05:00

A heartfelt tribute to the most amazing person I've ever known.

 

I want to share with you a heartfelt story about a really, really amazing person, which a recent conversation with Schala on the Pumosoftware forums brought back to me,  and at a very opportune moment to say something.

When I was in high school, there was a disabled student one or two years ahead of me named Eddie Badescu.  I don't mean disabled as in a learning disability like Attention Deficit Disorder or Autism, though a learning disability may well have been part of it.

What you really saw was someone confined to a wheelchair, unable to control his body, barely able to talk through a speech synthesizer.  If you think of Stephen Hawking, but with far more serious symptoms, you'll get the picture.  At first I thought of cerebral palsy but apparently it was something else, something I don't remember the name for.

The other thing you saw immediately was an incredibly strong will, this was someone who was determined to cling to life whatever it took, and determined to make life better for himself and people like him.  I don't remember exactly what kind of  advocacy he was doing, but he was doing something important.  For some reason I still don't fully understand I found it hard to admit this to myself at the time, but looking back after several years, I definitely admired Eddie.  I still do.

Eddie joined the student council.  I don't remember what year it was when he ran for student council president.  I do remember that, having a few learning disabilities myself, I did see something more in common with him than any other canditates and I voted for him mostly for that reason.  I knew at the same time I could never match up to what he was doing.

I didn't find out until much, much later, but it turned out that every single student in the school had voted the same.  You read that right.  The vote was completely unanimous.

Unfortunately Eddie never completed his term as president.

He died of pneumonia that spring.

I was one of the first to find out because my family had some connections with the disability department at the school - partly through me and my learning disabilities and partly through my mom's advocacy work for anyone with disabilities.  If I remember correctly I was told not to tell anyone else about the death.

As soon as I heard about it I decided I would go to Eddie's funeral if it was open to students.  Even if no one else in my family went I'd find some way to go.

The funeral was open to students and parents.  My mom, my brother, and I all attended.

At the funeral there was an incredibly touching and powerful video presentation about Eddie's short life.  He was only twenty when he died.  As the funeral went on I gained more and more respect for this amazing person, and I wished and still wish I had had all that respect for him while he was still alive.  Maybe we could have been friends.  I had barely known him.

I was on a first-name basis with Eddie's best friend, but I couldn't imagine how hard this must be for him.  He lost his best friend before he even finished school.  I talked to him about it, once, briefly.  Though I don't remember the conversation itself it was clear he was experiencing a lot of pain.

At our graduation I found out he had taken up smoking.  For once, this was someone I couldn't blame.

I found out later that he has joined the Canadian Forces.  I don't know anything else.  Though we departed on good terms, I haven't seen him since graduation.  I hope he finds a way to be happy again.

 

Several years later I was asked to write the script for a short sketch to promote inclusive education for people with disabilities and I was asked to focus on peers of students with disabilities.

What I wrote was almost a direct account of the part of Eddie Badescu's life that I had known, though I changed all the names.  A disabled student, confined to a wheelchair, who had to speak through a voice synthesizer, runs for student council president.  He's elected unanimously by the entire school.  It may sound unbelievable, but it did happen.  The actors were also students from the same school.  I watched the sketch after it was filmed, and they did a terrific job.

The sketch was my way of paying tribute to a person who accomplished more in his 20 years of life than most people do in 80.

Eddie Badescu.

Next week will be the anniversary of Eddie's death, though I don't remember which anniversary it is.  Let's all take a moment to commemorate what he accomplished, and let's follow in his footsteps, or the tire treads of his wheelchair, and work for inclusion of all people with disabilities, not just in education, but in all parts of life.

 

 

 

Song of the day:

A moment of silence in memory of the life of Eddie Badescu.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 March 2011 05:24
 
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Discuss this item on the forums. (3 posts)
Discuss (3 posts)
Special feature: A tribute to Eddie Badescu
Feb 05 2012 21:59:08
My dad is in a wheelchair due to a diving accident. And I think his heart attack was due to stress of being in it. Not fun.
#1214
Special feature: A tribute to Eddie Badescu
Jan 24 2012 00:22:44
In my life in the UK I encounter people daily who singularly value people for the material wealth and power they posess. They are so plugged into 'The Matrix' if you will that they never experience the infinite glory of reality. Their definition of success is poor in my opinion. It is a pleasure to read how some people value real values such as courage, determination et al. Just rare. Having worked with special needs children, I have met many whose condition makes me look at my own petty problems and realise I am very fortunate with my own abilities and disabilities.
#1194
Special feature: A tribute to Eddie Badescu
Apr 08 2011 20:11:11
"let's follow in his footsteps... and work for inclusion of all people with disabilities"

Agreed. Thanks for this story!
#815