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figuratively, is built one brick at a time. A resident of Toronto, it took Smith six years to get her local coffee shop to install an accessible ramp. “My fight wasn’t with the coffee shop owner,” she clarifies. “It was the city of To- ronto that wouldn’t allow for an accessible ramp to be installed due to building codes.” With her coffee shop owner and her com- munity behind her, Smith got a proper ramp installed and much more. She became a beacon for change in her neighbourhood, bringing a community together in the spirit of inclusion for all of its inhabitants.


Disabilities, a project of Disabled People’s International in partner- ship with the Canadian Internation- al Development Agency and the Canadian Paraplegic Association. Smith upholds the magnitude of inclusion, a precept that should be afforded to every- one, not just those living with a disabil- ity. “It embodies a sense of belonging and full community participation and accessibility,” she starts. “We need for attitudes to reach the point where a disability is truly just perceived


and accepted as another individual difference.” But she also knows that inclusion in any community,


Among her many achievements, Smith takes great pride in regain- ing her “quality and normality” of life after her injury. Society’s restraints have been the greatest obstacles that she has had to work to overcome in her life. “I’ve never lived, defined or viewed my life by one particular moment, good or bad. I’m always actively learning, seeking new and inter- esting experiences and meeting people who chal- lenge me,” she enthus- es. “Life is a continuum. I see and ap- proach life as a series of defin- ing moments. I find it’s usually a combination of experiences, les- sons and oppor- tunities that lead you to make certain decisions in life or


create special moments. For me, it really is about the journey and


so I don’t take anything for grant- ed along the way.”


While she still does a lot of pro- duction and television work, Smith has reinvented herself once again in a career shift to nutritionist. As a Certified Nutritional Practi- tioner she specializes in working with individuals with neurological injuries, such as spinal cord and brain injuries, multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy, through her company Fruitful Elements. Also, she has co-authored the highly- acclaimed book Eat Well Live Well with Spinal Cord Injury & Other Neurological Conditions, the first publication dedicated to address- ing the unique nutritional needs of people living with spinal cord injuries. And she teaches nutrition classes to individuals who are deaf/blind at The Canadian Helen Keller Centre.


With humility and grace Smith acknowledges how hard she has worked for her professional achievements and for the personal life she enjoys. Her dedication to raising awareness and assisting Canadians with disabilities led to her receipt of the King Clancy Award in 2006, induction into the Canadian Disability Hall of Fame in 2007 and being honoured with the Gabriel Award in 2008. “Living a ‘normal’ life is a gift.


I have a career and a home and a partner whom I love. I have good friends and family. I’ve traveled to amazing destinations, and I have my health.” With a beautiful grin she adds, “Really... you couldn’t ask for anything more.” And her favourite quote underscores her point: “It’s not the life you choose... it’s the life you choose to live.”


For more on Smith, Fruitful Elements and Eat Well Live Well visit her media channel on the Disability Today Network at www.disabilitytodaynetwork.com/fruitful-elements or www.fruitfulelements.com.


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www.disabilitytodaynetwork.com


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