Auger & Auger is proud to announce that Francesca Holborn of Murrieta, California has won the Spring 2017 Disabled Scholar Award, worth $1,000.
Since she was a child, Francesca (Frankie) knew her life would not be as easy as that of her peers. Growing up, she would ask her mother questions like, “Why can’t I tie my shoes like everyone else, Mom?” “Why doesn’t my hand do what I want it to?” “Why can’t I see what everyone else sees?”
Her mother’s answer? “You’re special babygirl.”
And Frankie is a special young woman. She was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, compounded with vision loss. This made even simple tasks much more difficult. Yet, Frankie never let her disabilities keep her down. Her biggest struggle growing up with cerebral palsy and a vision impairment was accepting that there are obstacles that her body cannot conquer.
Yet, she overcame her disability by learning that, even though she cannot do some things she is faced with, she can do so many other things. She knew she would likely never excel in activities like sports, so instead she focused on what she was good at: her academics. Yet, even though she graduated in the top ten percent of her class, she knew there was more to her identity than just being smart.
In high school, Frankie was invited to participate in the Youth Leadership Foundation Camp in Sacramento for teen leaders with disabilities. It was there she finally found people to whom she felt connected. It was there she learned that all people have their unique challenges and abilities — it is how we deal with what we are given that makes a person great. She knew from that moment that she wanted to leave an imprint on the world.
She found a way to live out her life’s mission when she was introduced to a volunteer organization called EQUU8, which uses horsemanship and horseback riding as a form of therapy for children with disabilities. For the first time in her life, Frankie was working with a therapist — but wasn’t the patient. Her experience with EQUU8 helped Frankie decide what she wanted to do with her life.
Now, Frankie is a student at Western Oregon University, working toward her undergraduate degree in psychology with a minor in special education. After she earns her bachelor’s degree, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in the same field with the ultimate goal of becoming a therapist for children with disabilities. In addition, she plans to create a support group for children and teenagers with disabilities.
Frankie believes that society can be more accommodating to disabilities by being more aware of the issues, and being more open to asking questions. She lives by one mantra: I can do anything until proven otherwise. She gives every experience a shot, and she is not willing to let her disability define her. She likes to work hard and surprise people with the results.
Though accomplishing this goal can be difficult, Frankie relies on her mother for support. She showed Frankie what it is truly like to be strong. Her mother had some medical problems different than Frankie’s, but with that experience her mother showed showed her to not not let her take the easy way out. She pushed Frankie to always be the best version of herself through whatever challenge she faces throughout life.
With her mission before her, Frankie looks to make the world a better place in whatever way she can, in spite of — and, to some degree, thanks to — her disability.
Learn more about the Auger & Auger Disabled Scholar Award here.