By Aimee Chiavaroli
Jamey Breen was born with cerebral palsy and gets around in a wheelchair, but does not view his disability as a liability.
Breen, who graduated in 2014, is now sharing his story through his blog and hopes to motivate others.
“I was born this way. This is my normal. I can’t change it and I wouldn’t want to change it anyway,” Breen said.
If someone is physically disabled or in a wheelchair, people assume they cannot do things, Breen said. He stressed that the word disability is limiting. He can do anything other people can do, just a little differently, he said.
When he was younger, Breen looked for a sport that could give him an opportunity to play the same way other kids do. He found wheelchair basketball.
“It’s empowering when you can participate fully in something that you love,” Breen said. He has been playing on a chair team for 10 years, and has been a volunteer coach for the Stonehill men’s basketball team for the past two years. Breen is passionate about it and said it gives him a reason to come back to campus.
“When you spend a lot of time with a group of people, they feel like family. People in the locker room respect me and support me. The things the coaches say is Stonehill basketball is a family. Not that I don’t miss my own brother, but I had 13 other brothers that tried to fill in the gaps. It meant a lot to me that the guys picked up on that. I don’t want to move on completely because I need to be here to show my support.”
Breen’s 23 year-old brother Daniel died after a car accident on Oct. 12, 2013. He was one of Breen’s biggest motivators.
“In my mind, my brother’s the greatest person in the world. He saw me as a person without a disability,” he said.
His brother taught him about confidence, and that his disability does not define him.
When Breen shares his story, he wants to reach as many people as he can, he said. He will talk about his disability, but does not want it to be the focus of his message.
He began posting motivational messages on Facebook and Twitter, and started gaining followers. Then, he started his blog. He knew he had something to say and that it was worth listening to, he said.
“When I graduated, I learned I had a passion for sharing my story and becoming a writer,” Breen said.
He studied health care, but was involved with ‘The Summit’\ and liked to write on his own. He felt writing for school was trying to please professors, he said, instead of writing for himself.
“Because I can verbalize my story, I feel very lucky. I really believe the things I say can benefit everyone,” Breen said.
His college roommate had suggested he write a book, he said. Breen loved the idea. He spoke to writers and learned a book can take at least a year or two to write. For now, the blog serves as developing content for the future book.
Breen encourages people to make the best of their situation.
“As long as you know in your heart what really gets you excited and what you’re really passionate about, share that with others. Share yourself with other people in a positive way. Use your talent in a way that serves others,” he said.
More information about Breen can be found on his blog at jmbreen55.wordpress.com.