As a young girl growing up in poverty and abuse, Linda Smith faced insurmountable challenges that would have left most people broken and defeated. During her troubled youth she was pressed to find her voice and become a self-advocate, or lose her voice and become a victim. As a new mother the world told her yet again to “give up,” as her baby boy was born with Down syndrome and a disclaimer and expiration date. It was said, “Your son will be a burden. He won’t live long. Give him up to an institution and move on!”
In many ways, two people were born that day; a son who would grow in size and shape, but remain as vulnerable and dependent as the day he was born and, a mother, reborn to be a champion for all people with disabilities. Linda quickly found that the world wasn’t ready for her son Christopher and like her own childhood, the odds would be stacked against him (with a voice he would never find on his own.) On this day, Linda transformed from a self-advocate to a selfless champion of Christopher and folks like him. She has become an advocate for disability freedom and has published books about disabilities in honor of her son, who himself has become a disability advocate through his strength.
#LindasLife is more than her long list of accomplishments, more than the five hundred plus million dollars she raised to support people with disabilities, more than taking a small and floundering organization and transforming it into a juggernaut force of good. #LindasLife is about what YOU can do when you are armed with love and outraged by injustice. Her first fundraising event “The Concert of Love” is the theme for her life and a model of how to live with passion and determination; uniting people through a cause and inspiring all who will listen. It’s about joining together to fight on behalf of the most disenfranchised humans on the planet, to welcome and celebrate integration and diversity, to turn an idea into a reality and transform the misfortunes life delivers into the fuel that drives people forward to then say with relentless conviction… “NO! That’s not good enough. #SorryNotSorry rejection is not an option!”