Transcript: Heather Anderson | Dec 26, 1991

(music plays)

The opening sequence begins.
Fast clips show the daybreak on a lake, birds flying in the sky, snow falling on a tree, a house covered with snow, and a seaplane flying in a clear blue sky.

A song says TALK TO ME SO I CAN
HEAR YOUR VOICE
LIKE A LAKE SO
DEEP AND CLEAR
SOARING TO THE
TOPS OF THE TREES
DANCING BY MY WINDOW
LIKE A WIND BLOWING
THROUGH MY DOOR
DISTANT VOICES
DISTANT VOICES
DISTANT VOICES
DISTANT VOICES

(music plays)

A woman in her late thirties with brown hair in a bob appears. She wears a white shirt with touches of red and green on the collar.
A caption reads "Heather Anderson, Computer Mapping Expert."

Heather says I HAVE ALWAYS HAD
A VERY STRONG PERSONALITY.
I GUESS I'VE NEVER REALLY
LET PEOPLE PUT ME DOWN
IN THE SENSE THAT
I WOULD GIVE UP EASILY.
I WOULD ALWAYS FIGHT
FOR WHAT I BELIEVED IN.
AND I SUPPOSE WHEN PEOPLE,
PEOPLE WOULD THINK
THERE WAS SOMETHING
I COULDN'T DO,
THAT I WASN'T
CAPABLE OF DOING,
WHETHER IT BE PHYSICALLY,
I WOULD FIND THE STRENGTH,
PROBABLY, TO FIGHT
THAT EVEN MORE.

[loon calling]
The title of the show appears in yellow letters. It reads "Distant Voices, with Eva Solomon, CSJ."

(music plays)

Eva is in her mid-forties with long curly brown hair. She sits by a hallway table facing the screen. There's a window behind her. She wears big pendants, a necklace, a lavender shirt and rose trousers.

She says HEATHER ANDERSON HAS
ALWAYS LIVED IN THUNDER BAY
AND HAS JUST BEGUN
A CAREER THERE AS
AN INDEPENDENT BUSINESS
WOMAN WORKING WITH
A COMPUTERIZED
MAPPING SYSTEM.
IT HASN'T BEEN EASY.
IN TIMES OF
RECESSION, THE RISK
OF BUSINESS
FAILURE IS HIGH.
AND HEATHER WAS BORN
WITH A FORM OF JUVENILE
OSTEOPOROSIS, WHICH
RESULTED IN FRAGILE BONES
AND REDUCED MOBILITY.

A black and white picture shows Heather as a child walking with the aid of crutches.

Eva continues HEATHER HAS NEVER
LET OBSTACLES
STAND IN HER
WAY, HOWEVER.

A clip shows Heather moving around her house: sitting on a sofa, or at the table. A man accompanies her.

Eva says HER CO-WORKER AND FRIEND,
OLF VERNASEN DESCRIBES HER
AS STUBBORN AND
A RISK-TAKER.
LAST YEAR, SHE MOVED OUT
OF HER PARENTS' HOME
TO HER OWN APARTMENT IN A
BUILDING NOT PARTICULARLY
DESIGNED TO BE
WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBLE,
BUT NEAR THE OUTDOORS
SHE SO LOVES.
SHE HAS JUST COMPLETED
A YEARLONG PROCESS OF
QUALIFYING FOR A MAPPING
LICENSE WITH THE MINISTRY
OF NATURAL RESOURCES,
WHICH WILL ENABLE HER
TO BID FOR GOVERNMENT
CONTRACTS.
SHE HOPES IT WILL LEAD
TO A STEADY INCOME,
AND AN EVEN LARGER DOSE
OF THE INDEPENDENCE
SHE HAS SOUGHT WITH
SUCH DETERMINATION.

Heather says IN
ABOUT OCTOBER,
I STARTED WITH A TEST
MAP WITH THE MINISTRY.
THE WAY THEY WORK IT IS
YOU WORK ON A TEST MAP,
WHICH IS AN ACTUAL
MAP THEY ARE USING.
THEY GIVE YOU A
BOOK OF THEIR SPECS,
HOW THEY WANT
IT DONE.
THEY GIVE YOU CERTAIN
DEADLINES THAT YOU HAVE
TO HAVE IT TURNED IN.
AND BASICALLY, WHAT YOU DO
IS YOU HAVE FIVE CHANCES
TO KEEP RESUBMITTING IT.
SO I'VE PROBABLY PUT
IN ABOUT EIGHT MONTHS
ON THAT PROJECT.

Heather works on a big map.

She says IT'S TOUGH BECAUSE
IT'S CONTRACT WORK.
IT'S UP AND DOWN.
IT'S NOT STEADY WORK.
GETTING YOUR NAME
KNOWN IS PROBABLY
THE BIGGEST PROBLEM.
I DON'T KNOW HOW
FAR I CAN TAKE IT.
I'LL TAKE IT AS
FAR AS I CAN.
I WANT TO MAKE A
SUCCESS OUT OF IT.
BUT THERE'S A LOT OF
PATHWAYS IN LIFE TO TAKE,
AND IF SOMETHING COMES
ALONG THAT I TURN
A DIFFERENT WAY, THEN
THAT'S OKAY, TOO.
I TRY TO KEEP AN OPEN
MIND IN THAT SENSE.
THAT I'M HAPPY DOING WHAT
I'M DOING RIGHT NOW.

Heather and Olf sit in front of a computer.

Heather says ONCE YOU WORK, YOU CAN'T
COLLECT DISABILITY.
YOU'RE ONLY
ABLE TO COLLECT THAT
WHILE YOU'RE NOT WORKING.
IF YOU MAKE A SMALL
AMOUNT OF MONEY,
I THINK YOU CAN COLLECT
A PORTION OF IT.
BUT OTHER THAN THAT,
YOU CAN'T COLLECT IT.
I PROBABLY HAVEN'T
COLLECTED IT SINCE
I WAS 19 YEARS OLD BECAUSE
I'VE ALWAYS WORKED,
OFF-AND-ON JOBS.

A clip shows Heather at the office.
A caption on screen reads, "As a child Heather had three years of home study; she graduated from Hammarskjold High Scholl and is working on an Honours B.A. at Lakehead U."

A man in his thirties with short light brown hair and a goatee appears. He wears a striped light blue shirt.

Olf says TO MY UNDERSTANDING,
SHE HAS PASSED
ALL THE HURDLES, AND
NOW, HOPEFULLY,
SHE WILL GET MORE OF A
STEADY WORKLOAD COMING ON
SO SHE CAN PLAN SOMETHING
IN HER LIFE, TOO.
BECAUSE HER
PROBLEM HAD BEEN,
WHEN SHE WORKED
FOR US BEFORE,
WHEN WE HAD ENOUGH
WORK, WE USED TO HIRE
HER ON ON-CONTRACT,
WHICH MEANT SHE WOULD BE
ON A FIXED TIME
CONTRACT
SO SHE COULD
PLAN SOMETHING.
BUT THEN AGAIN WE HAD
DOWN TIMES IN WORKLOAD,
AND WE COULD ONLY
HIRE HER ON FOR SO MUCH.
SO SHE DECIDED IT'S
PROBABLY IN HER OWN
BEST INTEREST TO GO
HUSTLE DOWN THOSE
CONTRACTS HERSELF.
SO IT WAS BECAUSE
OF THAT SHE WENT
AN INCORPORATED.
BUT AGAIN THAT ALSO
MEANT THERE WAS
NO STEADY INCOME.
COULD BE GOOD FOR
A LITTLE WHILE,
THEN BAD FOR A LONG
TIME, AND VICE VERSA.

Eva says HEATHER, WHAT GOT YOU
INTERESTED IN STARTING
YOUR OWN BUSINESS?

Heather says WHAT HAD HAPPENED
WAS I HAD BEEN WORKING
FOR CARISS FOR THE THREE
YEARS, BUT MAINLY THEIR TYPE
OF WORK WASN'T TOTALLY
RELATED TO WHAT
I HAD BEEN DOING.
SO THEY WERE BASICALLY
GETTING AWAY FROM
THAT TYPE OF CONTRACTS.
AND IT WAS MORE OR
LESS COMING TO AN END
IN THAT SENSE.
AND I WASN'T REALLY
READY TO GIVE IT UP.
I WAS STILL REALLY
ENJOYING WHAT I WAS DOING,
AND I STILL WANTED TO
REALLY CONTINUE WITH IT.

A black and white picture shows a woman in her thirties holding Heather in her arms.

Heather continues SO I HAD TALKED TO THE
FELLAS THAT I WORK WITH
ABOUT IT, AND THEY
SUGGESTED WITH ME THAT
MAYBE I SHOULD CONSIDER
TRYING IT ON MY OWN.

A new picture shows Heather surrounded by two older boys.

Eva says AS A SMALL CHILD,
WERE YOU AWARE OF YOUR
HANDICAP FROM THE
VERY BEGINNING?

Heather says YES, I WAS
DEFINITELY AWARE
OF MY HANDICAP RIGHT
FROM THE BEGINNING.
I SUPPOSE TO A CERTAIN
DEGREE, IT PREVENTED ME
FROM PARTICIPATING
IN A LOT OF THINGS,
BUT I DID PARTICIPATE
IN AS MUCH AS I COULD,
A LOT OF TIMES ENDING
UP WITH FRACTURES.
I STARTED KINDERGARTEN
WHEN I WAS FOUR,
AND AT THE END
OF THAT SUMMER,
I WENT INTO THE HOSPITAL
TO START SURGERY WHERE
I HAD STEEL RODS
IMPLANTED IN THE BONE
TO PREVENT IT
FROM FRACTURING.
I SPENT THE NEXT THREE
YEARS OUT OF SCHOOL
WHERE I HAD A
HOME TEACHER.
AND WHEN I WAS
IN THE HOSPITAL,
SHE TAUGHT ME
IN THE HOSPITAL.
I WENT BACK TO SCHOOL
WHEN I WAS IN GRADE 4.
I SPENT THOSE FOUR
YEARS REHABILITATING
TO GAIN BACK WHAT
I HAD LOST.
I SPENT NINE MONTHS
IN A BODY CAST.

A picture shows Heather lying on a sledge.

She continues AND TO REDEVELOP THAT
WHICH I NEVER HAD.

Eva says HEATHER, WHAT WERE
YOUR HOPES OR DREAMS
FOR YOURSELF
AT THAT TIME?

Heather says I DON'T THINK
MY HOPES OR DREAMS WERE
ANY DIFFERENT THAN ANY
OTHER CHILD AT THAT AGE.
I NEVER REALLY LOOKED
AT MYSELF AS HAVING
A DISABILITY.
I THINK A DISABILITY IS
DEFINITELY A STATE OF MIND.
AND IN MY MIND I DON'T
REALLY FEEL AS THOUGH
I HAVE THAT DISABILITY.
I HAVE ALWAYS LIVED MY
LIFE TO THE FULLEST,
AND GREW UP JUST LIKE
MY OTHER BROTHERS
AND SISTERS DID.

A black and white picture shows Heather's family: mom, dad and two older brothers. She's in her dad's arms.

Heather says AND IN THAT SENSE, I
THINK I WAS PROBABLY
JUST THINKING
NORMAL THOUGHT.

A new picture shows heather and her brothers playing on a tractor.
A caption reads "Juvenile Osteogenesis Imperfecta affects one in 20,000 people. It can be hereditary or be caused by a mutation of the gene at conception."

Eva says WHAT GAVE
YOU THE IMPETUS
TO GO TO UNIVERSITY?

A clip shows some drawings and paintings made by Heather.

Heather says I HAD APPLIED AT
THE ONTARIO COLLEGE OF ART,
AND I
WASN'T ACCEPTED,
WHICH I THINK PROBABLY
WAS THE BEST THING
THAT COULD HAVE
HAPPENED FOR ME.
DURING THAT TIME, I
HAD HAD MY NAME IN
THE EMPLOYMENT CENTRE LOOKING
FOR A JOB BECAUSE
I REALLY WASN'T HAPPY
WITH WHAT I WAS DOING
AT THE UNIVERSITY.
IT WAS JUST MORE OR
LESS SOMETHING TO DO.
AND I CAME ACROSS THIS
JOB THAT HAD ASKED FOR
SOME COMPUTER EXPERIENCE.
SO THE LADY THAT
WAS HELPING ME
AT THE EMPLOYMENT CENTRE
CALLED ME UP AND SAID,
I KNOW YOU DON'T HAVE ANY
EXPERIENCE IN COMPUTER,
BUT I THINK YOU WOULD
BE REALLY GOOD FOR IT.
I THINK YOU SHOULD GO
DOWN FOR THE INTERVIEW
AND GIVE IT THE BEST
THAT YOU HAVE.
SO I WENT FOR
THE INTERVIEW.
I REMEMBER IT BEING
ON NEW YEAR'S DAY,
THE DAY OF NEW
YEAR'S EVE.
AND IT WAS AT THE
LAKEHEAD UNIVERSITY,
AND ONE OF THE FORESTRY
PROFS HAD COME IN
THAT DAY FOR
THE INTERVIEW.
AND HE SHOWED
ME AROUND.
AND I REMEMBER WHEN HE
SHOWED ME THE EQUIPMENT,
I WAS THINKING,
OH, THIS LOOKS
EXTREMELY DIFFICULT.
AND SO A FEW DAYS LATER
HE CALLED ME AND SAID
I HAD THE JOB
IF I WANTED IT.
AND I TOOK IT.
AND I BASICALLY HAVE
WORKED IN THAT EVER SINCE.

Heather talks with a co-worker at the office.

Eva says WHAT GOT
YOU INTERESTED
IN DRIVING
YOUR CAR?
THAT'S QUITE AN
INDEPENDENT KIND OF VENTURE.

Heather says WHEN I WAS
ABOUT 19 YEARS OLD,
THE LAKEHEAD BOARD OF
EDUCATION RAN A PROGRAM
FOR THE FIRST TIME
FOR DISABLED PEOPLE
TO TAKE THEIR DRIVING.
AND I WAS AMONG ONE
OF THE FIRST GROUP
TO START THAT.
THEY HAD A CAR THAT WAS
EQUIPPED, AND FROM THERE,
I JUST CONTINUED
WITH IT.

A clip shows a woman pushing Heather's wheelchair to her car.

Heather says I GOT MY LICENSE IN
FEBRUARY, AND IN JULY,
I BOUGHT MY CAR.

Olf says SHE'S GOT A LIFT ON
TOP OF THE CAR THAT LIFTS
THE WHEELCHAIR UP, BUT
BEING A MECHANICAL THING,
IT BREAKS DOWN.
AND IT HAPPENS TO BREAK
DOWN AT THE WORST OF TIMES.
SO OF COURSE, THEN SHE'S
STUCK BECAUSE SHE CAN'T -
SHE CAN MAKE IT
INTO THE CAR HERSELF,
BUT SHE CAN'T BRING THE
CHAIR INTO THE CAR.
AND THAT MEANS SHE
GOES SOMEWHERE AND
SHE HAS NO WHEELCHAIR.
AND IT'S LIKE YOU AND I
HAVE NO LEGS TO WALK ON
WHEN WE GET
SOMEWHERE.
WE CAN DRIVE THERE, BUT
THEN YOU ARE STUCK
IN YOUR CAR.
SO THAT HAS CAUSED A
FEW PROBLEMS SOMETIMES.
AND IT ALWAYS BREAKS AT
THE WORST OF SITUATIONS.

A clip shows a car moving along a road. Snow is falling.

Heather says IF I DID
NOT HAVE MY CAR,
I WOULD BE SO LOST.
IT'S PROBABLY THE MOST
FREEDOM THAT I HAVE
IN THE SENSE THAT IF I
WANT TO GO OUT FOR A WALK,
I CAN'T NECESSARILY GO
OUT BY MYSELF FOR A WALK
WITHOUT SOMEONE COMING
WITH ME TO GIVE ME A HAND.
WHEREAS, WITH A CAR, I
CAN GO OUT FOR A DRIVE.
I CAN GO BY MYSELF.
IT'S A BIG PIECE
OF FREEDOM FOR ME.

Olf says ONE THING I HAVE
LEARNED ABOUT HEATHER,
AND THIS HAS CAUSED
A FAIR AMOUNT OF
FRUSTRATION IN OUR
FRIENDSHIP AT TIMES,
HEATHER IS WILLING TO
MAKE MORE RISKS
AS A FRIEND THAN I
AM AS A FRIEND.
IT'S EASY FOR ME TO
SUGGEST TO DO SOMETHING,
AND IF I GO HURT
MYSELF, WELL,
I HURT MYSELF MILDLY.
HEATHER GOES AND
HURTS HERSELF,
SHE CAN HURT HERSELF
QUITE GREATLY.
AND IF HER CAR WAS STALLED
ON THE EXPRESSWAY
IN THE WINTERTIME, AND
AT TIMES PEOPLE ARE NOT
THE FRIENDLIEST, AND
NOBODY MAY STOP.
AND THAT MEANS SHE'S GOING
TO SIT THERE AND FREEZE.
SO I SUGGESTED
FOR A WHILE,
WHY DON'T YOU GET
A CB OR SOMETHING?
BUT THEN AGAIN...
BUT IT IS A PROBLEM.
BUT MOST OF THE
TIME SHE IGNORES IT,
AND I THINK
SHE SHOULD.
SHE'S GOT TO LIVE.

Heather and Olaf sit at a table.

Olaf says I GUESS THE FRIENDSHIP IS
REALLY BASED ON
THE FACT THAT WE
DO TALK A LOT.
WE GET INTO ALL
KINDS OF TOPICS.
AND WE END UP TALKING A
LOT ABOUT OUR PERSONAL
BACKGROUND, AND
PERSONAL GOOD THINGS,
AND PERSONAL BAD THINGS,
AND FRUSTRATIONS
AND HAPPY MOMENTS, AND I
THINK THAT'S SORT OF
THE CORNERSTONE OF
THE FRIENDSHIP.
AND THAT'S THE
CORNERSHIP OF MOST
OF MY FRIENDSHIPS,
AND AS I SAID,
WITH HEATHER IT WORKED
OUT QUITE NICE.
AS ANY OTHER PERSON,
HEATHER HAS DOWN TIMES.
SHE'S GOT HER MOMENTS
WHERE SHE GETS VERY
FRUSTRATED WITH, NOT SO
MUCH WITH HER HANDICAP,
I THINK, BUT MORE WITH
OPPORTUNITIES WITH WORK
AND - I HAVEN'T REALLY
NOTICED FRUSTRATIONS
WITH HEATHER WHEN IT COMES
TO SOCIAL GATHERING.
THE FRUSTRATIONS
WITH HEATHER COMES -
SHE GETS DOWN ABOUT
THE FACT THAT LIKE
EVERYBODY ELSE SHE HAS
TO PAY THE BILLS.
SHE TRIES TO DO
IT ON HER OWN.
AND AT TIMES IT'S TOUGH,
AND AT TIMES IT'S GOOD.
BUT MOST OF THE TIME
IT'S A STRUGGLE.
AND I DON'T THINK PEOPLE
USUALLY SEE THAT.
LIKE YOU AND I,
EVERY SO OFTEN,
THE BILLS COME IN THE
MAILBOX AND HAVE TO
BE PAID, AND TO HAVE
ECONOMIC FREEDOM,
I THINK, IS AN EXTREMELY
IMPORTANT GOAL
FOR HEATHER
RIGHT NOW.
AND SHE'S NOT
THERE YET.

(music plays)

Fast clips show a small lake in the forest, a canoe moored by the lake, smoke coming out of the paper mill factory.

Eva says LAST WINTER,
HEATHER'S LOVE
OF THE NORTHERN OUTDOORS LED
HER INTO A CAMPING ADVENTURE
WITH OLF AND HER NIECE.
OLF BUILT A QUINCY, WHICH
IS BASICALLY SNOW
PILED UP A COUPLE OF
DAYS BEFOREHAND TO BE
DUG OUT WHEN NEEDED.
AND THEY SET OFF UP THE
VERY STEEP BLUFFS
OF CENTENNIAL PARK.

Olf says I SUGGESTED
TO HEATHER,
WHY DON'T WE DO SOME
WINTER CAMPING.
AT FIRST I THOUGHT,
THIS IS A GREAT IDEA,
AFTER I THOUGHT ABOUT IT,
MAYBE I THOUGHT THAT
WAS A BAD IDEA BECAUSE TO
MAKE IT UP ON IN THE BLUFFS
UP IN CENTENNIAL PARK,
IT IS VERY STEEP.
SO ANYWAY, WE KIND OF
IGNORED THE ISSUE,
IS THIS GOING
TO BE A PROBLEM?
AND WITH ALL THE SNOW
WE HAD THIS YEAR, TOO,
IT WAS A BIT OF AN
EFFORT TO GET THERE.
SO WE PUT HEATHER
IN A TOBOGGAN,
AND THEN A FRIEND OF
HEATHER'S CAME ALONG,
OR ACTUALLY HEATHER'S
NIECE CAME ALONG,
AND WE PULLED HER
THROUGH THE SNOW,
AND WE CAME TO THE
CLIFFS AT THE BLUFFS.
AND I WAS SORT OF LIKE
HOW DO WE GET HEATHER UP?
BECAUSE IT WAS TOO
STEEP TO CARRY HER UP.
SO WE BASICALLY
TOLD HEATHER,
YOU HOLD ON TO THE
TOP OF THE ROPE,
THE TOBOGGAN
WILL LIFT YOU UP.

Heather says SLEEPING IN AN
IGLOO WAS PROBABLY
THE FUNNIEST THING I'VE DONE
IN A LONG, LONG TIME.
IT'S REALLY DIFFERENT
WHEN YOU'RE OUT THERE
IN THE MIDDLE
OF THE WINTER.
IT WASN'T AS COLD AS WHAT
I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE.
YOU HAVE TO BE DRESSED
PROPERLY FOR IT.
BUT IT WAS FUN.
IT WAS DEFINITELY
AN EXPERIENCE.
WHY?
WHY DID I DO IT?
BECAUSE...
THERE IS SOMETHING TO
BE SAID FOR BEARING
THE ELEMENTS.
IT WAS JUST
SOMETHING DIFFERENT.
SOMETHING TO TRY.
TO SEE HOW PEOPLE COULD
ACTUALLY SURVIVE LIKE THAT.

A clip shows a mountain covered with snow.

Olf says THE CAMPING TRIP
TURNED OUT ALL RIGHT.
IT WAS A LITTLE
COLD IN THE MORNING,
A LITTLE AWKWARD AT
TIMES, BUT IT WAS FUN.
WE BROUGHT
FOOD UP THERE.
WE BROUGHT A GAME OF
MONOPOLY UP THERE.
SITTING THERE IN THE
SNOW PLAYING MONOPOLY.
BUT IN THE
MORNING, THOUGH,
IT WAS QUITE COLD.
BUT THAT'S JUST
PART OF IT.
PACK UP IN THE MORNING,
AND THEN MAKE IT BACK.
I'M SURE SHE
ENJOYED IT.
IT WAS A LITTLE BIT
OF A HASSLE AT TIMES,
BUT ANY CAMPING
TRIP IS.

A clip shows someone walking on the snow.

Olf says SHE WAS ALREADY THERE WHEN
I STARTED WORK IN '87.
I CAME TO LAKEHEAD
UNIVERSITY
FROM VANCOUVER, AND
HEATHER WAS THERE,
SO IT WAS SORT OF,
HERE'S THIS PERSON
IN THE WHEELCHAIR, AND IT WAS
A LITTLE AWKWARD AT FIRST.
IT WAS MORE SORT
OF HI, HOW ARE YOU?
AND THAT WAS IT.
THAT WENT ON FOR A LITTLE
WHILE UNTIL I SORT OF
REALIZED I'VE GOT TO GO
TALK TO THAT PERSON.
BUT IT WAS AWKWARD.
I THINK IT'S AWKWARD FOR
MOST PEOPLE BECAUSE
YOU DON'T QUITE, UNLESS
YOU HAVE A FRIEND WHO
IS HANDICAPPED, HOW DO
YOU DEAL WITH IT?
IS SHE HANDICAPPED? IS
SHE PHYSICALLY DISABLED?
IS SHE SORT OF
PHYSICALLY CHALLENGED?
AND WHAT DO YOU CALL IT?
AND CAN YOU ASK SOME
QUESTIONS, OR CAN'T YOU?
IT WAS A LITTLE
AWKWARD AT FIRST.
BUT THAT WAS
PROBABLY MY FAULT.
IT TOOK A WHILE.
AND BASICALLY, IT WAS MORE
A SENSE OF SITTING DOWN
AND CHATTING A LITTLE BIT
AND REALIZED WE HAVE
A LOT IN COMMON.
AND THAT'S HOW
FRIENDSHIPS START.
THEN YOU GET OVER THAT
SORT OF HURDLE TO SEE
THERE'S A PERSON THERE,
NOT A HANDICAPPED PERSON.
AND THAT'S HOW SHE WANTS
TO BE TREATED, I THINK.
BUT IT TOOK A WHILE.

A picture shows Heather and an older brother sitting on a sofa. Heather has both legs in a cast.
A caption reads, "Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive... Anais Nin."

Heather says THE PEOPLE THAT
I'VE MET IN MY LIFETIME,
SO FAR, I WOULD SAY HAVE
ALWAYS HAD A VERY OPEN MIND
IN THE SENSE THEY'VE
ALWAYS BEEN ABLE TO SEE ME
AS A PERSON FIRST, AND
THE DISABILITY LAST.
AND I GUESS IN THAT
TERMS, IT'S A GREAT
ENCOURAGEMENT TO
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF,
AND GO ON.

Heather plays with a white parakeet and then with her cat.

She says I GET DOWN FROM
TIME TO TIME.
I WOULD BE WRONG
TO SAY I NEVER DO.
IT'S JUST A PART OF
LIFE, WE ALL GET DOWN.
AS LONG AS WE DON'T
GET DOWN FOR TOO LONG,
AND WE'RE ABLE TO
GET BACK UP AGAIN.
I THINK IF YOU CAN'T
LAUGH AT THINGS IN LIFE,
AND AT HARD TIMES, THEN
YOU'RE GOING TO BE
IN BIG TROUBLE.
I MEAN, YOU CAN'T
ALWAYS BE SERIOUS ABOUT
EVERYTHING, AND YOU
CAN'T GET HUNG UP
ON EVERY THING
THAT HAPPENS.
IF YOU CAN'T SHRUG IT
OFF AND LAUGH AT IT,
THAT'S WHEN YOU
BECOME DOWN.

A woman push Heather's wheelchair out of the university.

Olf says I THINK PEOPLE GO OUT
OF THEIR WAY TO HELP HER,
BUT I ALSO THINK AT WORK
WE WENT OUT OF OUR WAY
TO NOT HELP HER, AT
TIMES, ON PURPOSE.
MORE MAYBE TO INITIATE
HER A LITTLE BIT.
SO THERE WERE TIMES WHEN
WE SORT OF BUGGED HER
ON PURPOSE.
AND THERE WAS A RAMP,
AND WE BASICALLY SAID,
WELL, HEATHER,
YOU DO THE RAMP.
AND I DON'T THINK
ANYBODY EVER SAW HER
MAKING THE RAMP.
AND I REMEMBER ONCE
WALKING UP TO THE CAFETERIA
WITH HER, AND I SAID,
I'M NOT PUSHING HER,
YOU PUSH YOURSELF.
AND SHE SORT OF LOOKED
AT ME AND COMPLAINED
A LITTLE BIT, BUT SHE
MADE IT UP THE RAMP.
AND AFTER THAT, SHE
USUALLY MAKES ALL RAMPS.
BUT THERE ARE
TIMES, OF COURSE,
WE PUSH HER
UP THE RAMP.
BUT SHE GETS THE SAME SORT
OF TREATMENT EVERYBODY ELSE
GETS IN A
WORK SITUATION.
THERE ARE TIMES WHEN
THERE'S A LITTLE BIT
OF FRIENDLY HARASSMENT
FOR THE SENSE
OF YOU'RE PART OF IT.
OF COURSE, SOMETIMES
YOU DON'T REALIZE
THAT MAYBE SHE TOOK
IT THE WRONG WAY.
I'M SURE THAT
HAPPENED A FEW TIMES,
BUT WHEN IT CAME TO THE
FACT OF GETTING OUT OF
HER CAR, THAT WAS A
PROBLEM AT TIMES BECAUSE
SHE MISSED AN APPOINTMENT
FOR THEM TO COME OUT.
SHE WOULD SOMETIMES SIT
IN THE CAR AND HOPEFULLY
SOMEBODY WOULD NOTICE
SHE WAS SITTING THERE.
AND I REMEMBER THAT SOLVED
ITSELF BY THE FACT THAT
THE SECRETARIES OUT
FRONT SAW HER THERE.
BUT I'M SURE SHE FELT
AWKWARD MANY A TIME
TO HAVE TO BOTHER PEOPLE TO
HELP HER OUT OF THE CAR.
AND THAT WAS SORT OF
SOLVED WITH THAT
GIZMO SHE PUT ON
TOP OF THE CAR.
BUT THEN THE OLD CHAIR,
BEFORE SHE GOT
THE NEW CHAIR, IT WAS
VERY, VERY HEAVY.
SO I'M SURE SHE FELT VERY
AWKWARD TO HAVE TO GO ASK
PEOPLE TO HELP HER.
AND SHE STILL DOES.
SHE DOESN'T LIKE
TO ASK FOR HELP.

Heather jumps from her wheelchair to the sofa.

Eva says HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO
FIND SUPPORT WITH OTHER
PEOPLE OTHER
THAN YOUR FAMILY?
HAVE YOU BEEN ABLE TO
FIND SUPPORT WITH OTHERS
WITH THE SAME
DISABILITY?
IT COULD BE SPIRITUAL,
IT COULD BE JUST
SOCIAL SUPPORT, IT
COULD BE WHATEVER WAYS
YOU FEEL YOU'D NEED
SUPPORT IN A SENSE.

Heather says NOT SO MUCH IN
OTHER DISABLED PEOPLE.
I REALLY DON'T KNOW TOO
MANY OTHER DISABLED PEOPLE,
OR OTHER PEOPLE WITH
MY TYPE OF CONDITION.
DEFINITELY SUPPORT IN
OTHER PEOPLE THAT I'VE MET
AND COME IN CONTACT
WITH IN MY LIFE.

Olf says THE FACT SHE DOES
MOST OF HER ASSOCIATION
WITH PEOPLE WITH
NO DISABILITY,
HAS FORCED HER TO
REALIZE THERE'S NO POINT
IN BEING ASHAMED FOR
THE FACT SHE'S SMALL.
AND LET'S NOT SHY AWAY
FROM DOING THINGS
THAT ABLE-BODIED
PEOPLE DO.
AND I DON'T THINK SHE
FEELS AWKWARD EVER.
I DON'T THINK -
MAYBE I'M WRONG,
BUT I DON'T THINK SHE
GETS INTO SITUATIONS
WHERE SHE FEELS AWKWARD
WHERE MAYBE SHE DOESN'T
BELONG IN THIS SETTING.
AND SHE GETS HERSELF
INTO SETTINGS WHERE
YOU NORMALLY DON'T SEE
PEOPLE WITH WHEELCHAIRS.

A newspaper article shows a picture of Heather sitting next to a man. It reads "Back a fighter."

Eva says I HAVE A SENSE THAT
YOU HAVE THE SORT OF
DYNAMISM WITHIN YOU THAT
SAYS ANYTHING'S POSSIBLE.
WHERE DOES THAT
COME FROM?

Heather says I WOULD IMAGINE
JUST MY PERSONALITY.
I THINK THAT
I'VE ALWAYS...
I WOULD SAY FROM
THE FACT THAT
I'VE ALWAYS LIVED MY
LIFE PERFECTLY NORMAL
IN THE SENSE THAT
MY DISABILITY
HASN'T AFFECTED IT.
MY UPBRINGING IN MY FAMILY
LIFE WAS ALWAYS VERY STABLE.
AND I WAS ALWAYS
ENCOURAGED TO GO OUT
AND ENJOY LIFE, AND
JUST DO WHATEVER IT WAS
THAT MADE ME HAPPY.

Olaf and Heather talk at Heather's house.

Olf says I REMEMBER A COMMENT
ONCE WHEN I FIRST CAME
TO WORK, AND I WASN'T
SURE - THERE WAS A SUMMER
STUDENT WORKING THERE,
AND HE WAS TALKING ABOUT
USING HEATHER AS BAIT
ON HIS FISHING ROD.
I REMEMBER, I SORT OF
THOUGHT ABOUT THAT
COMMENT FOR A
LONG TIME.
AND THAT WAS BEFORE
I KNEW HEATHER.
AND I THOUGHT, GEE,
PEOPLE SAY SOME THINGS
LIKE THAT TO HER?
AND IT WAS MEANT
IN A GOOD SENSE.
THEN I REALIZED
THE TWO OF THEM
WERE VERY GOOD FRIENDS.
THAT WAS ALSO GOOD
TO HEAR BECAUSE
IT MADE ME REALIZE SHE'S
JUST ANOTHER PERSON,
AND I'LL TEASE
PEOPLE ABOUT THINGS.
BUT THAT WAS THE FIRST
TIME I HEARD SOMETHING
ABOUT HEATHER, AND I
REMEMBER I THOUGHT
THAT WAS NOT A NICE
THING TO SAY,
BUT IT WAS
OBVIOUSLY OKAY.

(music plays)
A clip shows an icebreaker moving slowly and then a row of houses in a street.

Eva says HEATHER'S SUPPORT
SYSTEM IS MADE UP
OF PEOPLE OF LIKE
MIND AND SPIRIT,
WHO SHARE IN HER WORK
AND LOVE OF NATURE.
HER DETERMINATION TO
BE INDEPENDENT IS
THE EXPRESSION OF HER UNIQUE
VITALITY AND LIFE FORCE.
HER DISSATISFACTION
WITH THE STATUS QUO
KEEPS HER EVER CHALLENGING
HER OWN LIMITS.

Heather says THE MORE THINGS
I'VE HAD TO STRUGGLE WITH,
AND EACH TIME YOU
OVERCOME THOSE,
I THINK YOU BECOME A
LITTLE BIT STRONGER
IN REALIZING YOU
CAN DO IT,
AND IT ISN'T AS TOUGH AS
WHAT YOU THOUGHT IT WAS.
SO EACH TIME THERE'S A
NEW BARRIER, I THINK,
IN A WAY, IT'S
A BIT EASIER.

A picture shows Heather wearing a light blue dress. She's a flower girl at a wedding.

Heather says PEOPLE ALWAYS SAY
I'M VERY PERSONABLE.
I THINK THAT I'VE
ALWAYS ENJOYED
WORKING WITH PEOPLE.
ENJOYED LISTENING TO
PEOPLE, AND THEIR LIVES,
AND WHAT THEY'VE
COME ACROSS.
I SUPPOSE A LOT OF THE
TIME I'VE SPENT IN
AND OUT OF THE HOSPITAL,
I'VE LEARNED TO ACCEPT
DIFFERENT THINGS IN
LIFE, AND TO REALLY
UNDERSTAND PEOPLE.

A picture shows Heather as a child sitting on her wheelchair next to the Christmas tree with one of her brothers and a sister.

She continues I WOULD THINK THAT IF I
COULD MAKE A DIFFERENCE
IN ANYONE WOULD BE TO
MAYBE PEOPLE THAT ARE
DISABLED, OR NON-DISABLED
WHO DON'T BELIEVE IN
THEMSELVES, OR MAYBE
DON'T HAVE THE FAITH
TO DO WHATEVER IT IS THAT
THEY'RE INTERESTED IN,
OR THAT THEY BELIEVE IN.
I THINK IF I COULD MAKE
PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THAT,
AND REALIZE THAT LIFE
GOES ON NO MATTER WHAT,
THEN I THINK THAT
WOULD PROBABLY
BE THE GREATEST
THING.

Eva says WHAT IS IT
THAT KEEPS YOU
SAYING I CAN DO IT?

Heather says PROBABLY PEOPLE
THAT THINK THAT I CAN'T.
WHEN I'M FACED WITH A
SITUATION WHERE PEOPLE
MAYBE DON'T
BELIEVE IN ME,
OR PUT ME INTO A
CERTAIN CATEGORY,
I THINK IT'S PROBABLY
MY GREATEST STRENGTH
IN MAKING THAT
SITUATION TURN AROUND.

(music plays)
The end credits roll.

Produced by Jim Hanley, Jim Hyder.

Directed by, Dan Robinson.

Photographed by Mark Mackay.

Associate producers, Elinor Barr, Patricia Michael.

Written by Patricia Michael.

Editor, Patrick Malone.

Technical director, Rob Sim.

Camera equipment, Sim Video.

Sound recordist, Bill McMillan.

Location manager, Ron Macey.

Production Assistants, Crystal Evers, Rhonda Kara Hanah.

Title theme composed and performed by Rodney Brown.

Closing theme and additional music, Mark Seagully.

Post production facilities, TVOntario.

Craft services, Village Meats and Deli.

Travel arrangements, East-West travel.

Accommodation, Red Oak Inn.

Publicity, Pamela M. Keary, Prolific Profiles.

Regional travel provided by NorOntair- Ontario Northland.

Executive for TVOntario, Marjorie Robinson.

Supervisor of production, Paul McConvey.

Executive producer, Jim Hanley.

Photographed on location at Trout Lake Studios and throughout Northern Ontario.

A co-production of TVOntario and Sleeping Giant Productions.

Copyright 1991. The Ontario Educational Communications Authority.

Watch: Heather Anderson