James Donnelly studied communication sciences and disorders at California State University Chico. He also has cerebral palsy with spastic dysarthria. With financial help and guidance from DOR and a personal aid to help with the transition to college life, James looks forward to the next chapter.
I was very sheltered. Even if I wasn’t sheltered, I felt sheltered… because of my disability. You know, I couldn’t go out and run with my friends.
One day at my elementary school the bell was ringing and I went outside with my friends and I was chasing them and then all of the sudden they ran on the grass to escape me and I just sort of sat there... I sat there and looked as they ran away from me onto the grass and then a second later they were just, you know, doing something else.
And I’m like, huh-- so this is what it’s like? I can’t… I don’t have the ability to go run around with people like that.
And that’s why I like wrestling, because I get to see people do things I wish I could do. That’s why I like video games. I get to do things I wouldn’t normally get to do.
I do say, “I wish it was easier” sometimes because I mean, who wouldn’t? But then I just think… you know what, it could be a lot worse. I could be in a lot rougher shape. I’ve seen people with disabilities, and even without disabilities, who are in a lot rougher shape than I am. Either through socioeconomics or just their outlook on life. And I’m not saying I have the best, happy-bird-sunshine outlook on life, because I don’t.
But it’s a lot happier than it used to be.