During man’s formative years, he begins to discover the world around him as he develops socially, cognitively and, of course, physically. Imagine doctors informing you as a parent that your child will not be able to lead the same carefree life as others of his same age. The inability to walk, speech impediments, and cognitive disorders are just few examples of life-changing information one can receive. This may make a person believe that he’s not as competent as his peers. Magdy Shaheer Abdel Sayed was born with cerebral palsy, a movement condition that weakens the muscles, but his parents never gave up on him and believed that nothing could prevent him from reaching his goals.
Since childhood, Abdel Sayed has always tried to partake in all sorts of activities despite the struggles he used to face and still faces to this day. When he reached the age of school entry, several schools rejected him on the grounds of not being equipped to accommodate persons with disabilities even though he was very much eligible to keep up with other students in terms of intelligence and comprehension. After further research, he was accepted into the International School of Choueifat where he stayed for 10 years before transferring to MSE 2000. He graduated from MSE high school with honors and completed his journey. So, he registered in mass communication at the American University in Cairo where Abdel Sayed believed that much of his character was shaped. During university, Abdel Sayed participated in his first marathon that was organized by the student activity “Helm” benefiting persons with disabilities. From then on, Abdel Sayed realized his true calling in life.
Abdel Sayed is now the ambassador to “Helm” which eventually evolved from a student activity to an actual organization. Helm has helped shape Abdel Sayed’s character immensely which in turn has led him to a suitable career path. Besides working with Helm, Abdel Sayed became a motivational speaker as well as a media specialist for an oil company.
We are all challenged in one aspect or another in life; how you choose to confront your disability decides your fate. Abdel Sayed was awarded a Cambridge University prize (2008) as an Egyptian student who has “overcome the most” in spite of his disability. Recently, he was able to give a speech abroad, crossing off one of his life goals.
Abdel Sayed, now 26, believes that persons with disabilities can live up to expectations by believing in themselves. He also stated that if given the choice, he would choose to be disabled because it gave him a purpose in life.
At some point in our lives, we all feel left out for one reason or another. This feeling usually dissipates the more a person interacts with society realizing that other people have this exact sentiment about themselves. Imagine how it is for people with a constant sense of not belonging because of our actions and lack of awareness. This is why Magdy Shaheer’s story is an important one.