On a Mission, Fourth-Year Student Aims to Bring Disability to the Forefront


Ashley Heuser has been living with migraines since she was a young girl, but they got much worse shortly after she arrived at the University of Virginia. As a first-year student, she suffered stroke-like symptoms and was rushed to the emergency room. After recovering, Heuser eventually was diagnosed with sporadic hemiplegic migraines, a rare disease involving weakness of the face, arm or leg on one side of the body that can be accompanied by numbness or a pins-and-needles feeling. As you would expect, Heuser’s world was – in a flash – turned upside-down.

Fortunately, it wasn’t long before she connected with a student-run organization on Grounds that is now called Chronically Ill and Disabled Cavaliers. “That’s when I really started to find my community,” Heuser said. “It really helped with claiming my identity as a disabled woman. “It was no longer myself against my body. It was just, ‘My body is what it is’ – and there’s a lot of power in recognizing that.” Now a fourth-year student, Heuser is president of the organization. In addition, she serves on UVA’s Disability Advocacy and Action Committee and is the student administrator for the Disability Studies Initiative. (READ MORE)

Source: UVA Today (Whitelaw Reid)