Mama Cax, born Cacsmy Brutus, was given only three weeks to live when she was diagnosed with bone (osteosarcoma) and lung cancer at 14 years old.
Now in her late 20s—and after having her right leg amputated due to an unsuccessful hip replacement following chemotherapy—the Haitian-American is an advocate who utilizes social media as a platform to talk about body positivity and to dismantle the image of what people with disabilities should look like.
“When I first started blogging, a lot of women amputees were messaging me about how they’d never seen an amputee on social media or anywhere showing their prosthetics,” she said in an interview with Teen Vogue. “I think it’s so important to show people who have physical disabilities because there are people out there who buy products and never see themselves represented in any way, shape, or form.”
In 2016, the blogger, advocate, motivational speaker and model was invited to the White House to walk in the first ever White House Fashion Show to celebrate inclusive design, assistive technology, and prosthetics.
Soon after, Cax was made one of the faces of Tommy Hilfiger’s adaptive line, and since then has made her debut walking the runway at New York Fashion week in designer Becca McCharen-Tran’s Spring 2019 show.
Mama Cax has now partnered with Olay in their new campaign #FaceAnything to encourage women to live fearlessly and to have the confidence to be unapologetically bold and true to themselves, according to health.com.
September 30th is National Women’s Health and Fitness Day. The day serves as a great reminder about how important it is for women to make their health a priority.
Most women spend a lot of time taking care of others in their family and community, putting their own needs on the back burner. But one doctor feels passionate about making sure women put their own oxygen mask on first.
“Women need to learn to put themselves first when it comes to taking care of their health,” explains Dr. Robert “Bob” Posner, a world-renowned medical doctor who founded the Serotonin-Plus Weight Loss Program. “There’s nothing to feel guilty about for doing so. You simply cannot be your best and give the best of yourself without making your health a priority.”
Oftentimes, women feel overwhelmed with the things they would need to do in order to get and maintain good health. They envision hours of gym time and a huge salad at every meal. While that’s one way to do it, it’s not the way that works for most people. Women today are busy. They have a full schedule, stress, and a laundry list of daily tasks. They need simple ways to be healthy, or they won’t feel like it’s an effort they can engage in.
The good news is that there are simple things that people can do to get and maintain good health. And the good news it is that those simple things add up quickly to provide great results. Here are 5 simple ways every woman can put her health first:
Sit less. A study published in the September 2020 issue of the journal Preventative Medicine reported that longer sitting time at work is associated with greater waist circumference in those with desk jobs. The researchers recommend interventions so that people are not sitting so long at work. Looking into desks that allow you to stand while working, or getting up for five minutes every hour can help. Even standing whenever you are on the phone can make a difference.
Move more. Engaging in regular exercise plays a big role in how healthy people are. A study in the September 2020 issue of the journal American Journal of Preventative Medicine reported that walking for exercise and engaging in vigorous exercise are both associated with a reduction in mortality, including from cardiovascular disease and cancer. Walking just 30 minutes per day can help keep you healthier.
De-Stress. When you feel stressed, you have an increase in hormones that can lead you to gaining weight, feeling depressed, having less energy, and more. Having healthy ways to address stress is crucial. Find something you enjoy and engage in it daily, even if it’s just for 10 minutes. You can do meditation or yoga, both of which will help. You can also take a supplement such as Serotonin Plus to help address the serotonin imbalances that lead to weight gain and the inability to lose weight.
Boost immunity. Having a healthy immune system is always important, but especially during a pandemic. Consider eating immune-boosting foods and taking a natural supplement to boost immunity, such as SeroImmune. Taking an immune-boosting supplement can help provide a layer of defense.
Commit to change. Don’t become overwhelmed with so many changes. Instead, opt for committing to some small changes. Those small changes can be simple, and they will add up. Soon you will see and feel the results of your efforts. You don’t have to spend hours in the gym in order to get results that make you healthier, as well as happier.
“Put it on your daily calendar so that it’s a reminder, or get into the habit of taking time for yourself each day,” adds Posner. “Your health is worth it. I’ve helped thousands of women safely lose weight, boost their immunity, get active, and feel great. My goal is to help more people live their best life starting now.”
Dr. Posner offers a doctor-supervised weight loss program, called SeroFit, that helps people manage their weight, curb carb cravings, and boost mood. His program focuses on carbohydrate cravings being the reason people have weight problems, combined with anxiety and stress-related eating. They are all systems of physiological irregularity in the brain known as serotonin imbalance. He created the program based on this science, providing patients with a Food and Drug Administration-approved appetite suppressant, called phentermine, to help curb the hunger pangs.
Dr. Posner has also developed a new immunity-boosting supplement, called SeroImmune, that will be available in October 2020. The supplement was scientifically developed to provide a boost to the immune system. Key ingredients include vitamin D, vitamin C, zinc, elderberry, maitake mushrooms, and a serotonin blend. Each of these ingredients plays an important role in protecting and boosting the immune system. To learn more about the supplement or pre-order it, visit the site: SeroImmunePre-order.
With decades of medical experience under his belt, along with his free webinars, Dr. Posner offers telemedicine appointments, weight loss products, and more. He founded the Potomac Internal Medicine Associates primary care office in 1988 and Serotonin-Plus Inc. in 2002. He has helped thousands of people to successfully lose weight, and is the author of three weight loss-themed books. To learn more about him and the program, visit the site at: www.SeroFit.com.
About Serotonin-Plus Weight Loss Program
The Serotonin-Plus Weight Loss Program is doctor-supervised and focuses on the root cause of being overweight. Founded by Dr. Robert Posner in 2002, the program takes an approach to weight loss that considers the brain connection of serotonin imbalance. The program has helped over 20,000 patients to date. Soon, he will be releasing SeroImmune, which is a groundbreaking, immune-boosting supplement that combines vitamins/supplements clinically proven to contribute to immune health AND the proprietary serotonin blend to boost mood. Limited supplies will be available starting in October 2020. To learn more, visit the website: https://spdiet.com or https://doctorbobposner.com/.
National Nurses Day is celebrated annually on May 6 to raise awareness of the important role nurses play in society. It marks the beginning of National Nurses Week, which ends on May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale.
Events and observations associated with the holidays may be canceled or otherwise affected due to measures taken to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Please check with event organizers for details.
On National Nurses Day celebrations and receptions are held across the United States to honor the work of nurses. Among the most popular activities are banquets, state and city proclamations, and seminars. Many nurses receive gifts or flowers from friends, family members, or patients.
May 12, the final day of National Nurses Week, is the birthday of Florence Nightingale (1820-1910). The English nurse became known as the founder of professional nursing, especially due to her pioneering work during the Crimean War (1853-1856). Due to her habit of making rounds at night, Nightingale became known as “The Lady with the Lamp”.
National Nurses Week was first observed in October 1954, the 100th anniversary of Nightingale’s mission to Crimea. May 6 was introduced as the date for the observance in 1982.
Madeline Delp knows no bounds. She applies her strengths, or her “superpowers” as she calls them, to focusing on what she can do—defying and transcending boundaries along the way
Consistent with her trailblazing efforts, Delp serves as the executive director of Live Boundless, an organization that educates people on those with disabilities and provides equipment like wheelchairs to those in need worldwide. Whether it’s coaching people on how to release the mental bounds of fear, showing others how to navigate the physical bounds that come with a disability or providing critical medical resources for people, Delp says her goal is to equip others with the tools they need to thrive.
“We aspire to challenge others to reach for a higher potential in their lives, and in turn, give back to the world around them,” she said.
Delp strives to follow her own credo. She competed in her first beauty pageant in 2016, the Miss Wheelchair North Carolina competition, and won. That same year, she would go on to win Miss Wheelchair USA 2017.
Delp is also the first person to compete in the Miss North Carolina USA pageant in a wheelchair. She placed in the top 10, won Miss Congeniality, and is the first woman in a wheelchair to make it this far in a state pageant in the history of the program.
She also became the first paraplegic girl to BASE jump. She has also rock climbed and gone skydiving. “Focus on your ability and what you can do,” Delph said. “Learn to accept fear as a tool, because when you’re able to look your fears in the face and do that thing that you’re terrified of, you’ll become a stronger person.”
When she was just 10 years old, Delp learned she would never walk again. In surviving a debilitating car crash, she suffered a severe spinal injury resulting in paralysis and incontinence.
Within a short time following this life event, Delp began a homeschooling program, because her high school campus was not wheelchair-accessible and unable to accommodate her. She didn’t see her father for almost a year following her accident. Her best friend was killed in a car accident the next year.
“People and circumstances I had thought would always stay constant were quickly fading away….and as the last domino in a long line of heartbreaks fell, a thick cloud of darkness surrounded me–so much so that I could barely breathe,” Delp wrote in a blog post for Aeroflow Urology.
In the wake of these tragic and angst-laden experiences, Delp struggled with anxiety and depression. She would spend as many as three hours a day waiting on toilets during her tween and teenage years as a result of her bladder challenges.
Delp and her mom moved to Detroit when she was 14 where she started going to a rehabilitation center. She had an accident in front of her physical therapy team while balancing with the aid of a harness on a treadmill.
“As we left, one of the therapists caught up with me and said, ‘Madeline, don’t be embarrassed. This kind of thing happens all the time! We think nothing of it–we are used to it. This is just your new kind of normal. It’s just pee.’”
Triggered by a realization of a new kind of normal, Delp decided to make a change.
“In my late teens I firmly decided that I didn’t want to be that person anymore,” Delp told Glamour Magazine. “I may not be able to walk, but I wanted to find something inside myself that was stronger than all the reasons I had to be negative. So I started trying to push myself in new ways.”
She describes a study abroad trip to Germany during college as a “second life catalyst event.” While not without accidents and incidents, Delp would travel to Germany three more times. She would also walk across the stage to receive her diploma. She graduated from UNC Asheville in May 2017 with a degree in foreign language and a concentration in management.
“I did all these things to show people with disabilities that you don’t have to be stopped by the limitations that people put on you.”
Grocery shopping needs to be taken more seriously than ever. Before COVID-19, the way we handled and put away our groceries wasn’t thought about as much, but now, we must take all of the necessary precautions to keep ourselves, our families, and our communities safe.
Here are five grocery tips for bringing safe, sanitary groceries home:
Use Gloves: It’s astonishing how many items we touch when we go to the grocery store. For many people, pushing grocery carts may not cause them to get sick, but these germs can easily spread to elderly and immune-compromised shoppers. To prevent the spread of germs, wearing a pair of plastic, disposable gloves is a great way to keep you and the next person touching your cart safe from any potential illness.
Unload Outside: When bringing your groceries home, make sure they are as germ free as possible before bringing them inside. Before you enter your house, unload your groceries in your garage or on your front porch, sanitize them, then bring them inside.
Sanitize your Groceries: You never know who could have touched your new groceries, whether it be manufacturers or other shoppers who decided not to buy your product. For extra precaution, use a disinfecting wipe to scrub any boxed, canned or bagged products. Using a sanitizing spray with a washable, reusable rag can also be a great way to make sure your groceries are safe!
Wash your Produce: Many of us already rinse our fresh vegetables and fruits before eating them, but the current times call for stronger methods. Wash your produce with warm water AND soap to better cleanse them of any potential germs.
Be Thoughtful: We all make sure we have enough to eat, drink, and live off of without having to go to the grocery store too much. However, there are many people with special medical and allergy needs who depend on certain products to survive. Stock up on what you need, but hold off on buying the entire supply of hand sanitizer or canned vegetables in the store. Take only what you need, and be mindful of others.
Natalie Rodgers Professional WOMAN’s Magazine contributing writer
Nearly 6 in 10 women are found to be poor sleepers, compared to 4 in 10 men, according to research findings from The State of America’s Sleep study from The Better Sleep Council (BSC), the consumer education arm of the International Sleep Products Association (ISPA). The study found when adding school and children in, the incidence of poor sleep increased dramatically for women, but minimally impacted men’s sleep quality.
As part of better sleep month, the BSC launched a research study called The State of America’s Sleep, which sought to track America’s sleep quality over time, and its results unveiled the nation’s best and worst sleepers. It appears the worst sleepers tend to be under stress, particularly at work, financially or in their personal relationships:
Americans who are “under pressure at work” make up 44 percent of poor sleepers in the country.
According to BSC research, about 80 percent of adults who feel they work in a friendly environment, enjoy the people they work with, and enjoy the work they do are excellent sleepers.
Additionally, excellent sleepers are 27 percent more likely to be valued at work compared to poor sleepers.
Financially stressed adults lack excellent sleep at night. Adults who are concerned about their financial future comprise 72 percent of poor sleepers, and those who live paycheck to paycheck represent 56 percent of poor sleepers.
The research found that meaningful relationships impact quality of sleep. Adults who agree that they have a great relationship with their spouse/partner represent 88 percent of excellent sleepers, compared to adults who are in difficult relationships, which is only 9 percent of excellent sleepers.
Another surprising finding from the survey was the impact of the day’s news on Americans. Contrary to popular belief that the news is keeping people up at night, adults who agree that they enjoy watching/listening/reading the news every day comprise 64 percent of the best sleepers in America.
Don’t be surprised if one day you see Tony Award-winning actress and singer Alyson “Ali” Stroker on the Big Screen, and don’t think twice if you’re smiling.
“I want to create content that makes people feel good,” Stroker, who won a historic Tony for portraying Ado Annie in Oklahoma!, told DIVERSEability Magazine. “There’s a lot of stress and anxiety in the world and we as artists have the ability to change that.”
Stroker is the first actress in a wheelchair to win a Tony. It happened on June 9 of this year. Hearts fluttered, heartbeats quickened, tears flowed and…
“It’s been unbelievable,” said the 32-year-old native of New Jersey. “For the disabled community it’s really cool to see yourself represented in this arena.”
Stroker, paralyzed from the chest down in a car accident when she was 2, is a role model for the disabled. While she avoids sermonizing, she doesn’t hesitate to talk about the virtues of work, perseverance and independence.
“Putting your destiny in someone else’s hands is never going to make you feel powerful,” she said. “I’m more inclined to tell disabled people to create communities of people you trust, and then create your own work. It’s better to do that than to talk.”
And for all young artists, she has a question.
“What do you want to create?”
That’s a core challenge for Stroker. It’s at the heart of being an artist.
It’s what she asked herself as a child (“I sang all day, every day”) and what she asks herself as an adult, and as a star.
But it should be stressed that Stroker earned the Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for just one reason: she’s really, really good.
“It didn’t feel like, ‘Oh, you did something to overcome being in a chair,’” she said. “It was actually, ‘We’re recognizing you for being at the highest level of your field.’ That’s what I’ve always wanted.”
Stroker was born with a passion for the stage, but it took hold—with the strength of a farmer—when she was 7, in a backyard production of Annie.
“When I got on stage, it was the first time that I felt powerful,” Stroker said. “I was used to people staring at me, but they were staring at me because I was in a wheelchair. And when I was on stage, they were staring at me because I was the star… I particularly feel that I can’t hide on stage and that’s a gift.”
It’s fitting that, 25 years later, she’s wowing crowds on Broadway as Ado Annie, who is so unwilling be anything but herself that her catch-line is, “How can I be what I ain’t?”
“She doesn’t ever apologize for who she is,” Stroker said. “She doesn’t have any shame about who she is. Her wants, her desires, are so clear.”
Alyson Mackenzie Stroker was born in Ridgewood, New Jersey. She studied at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and earned a bachelor of fine arts. She was the first actress in a wheelchair to earn a degree from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.
After graduation, she auditioned for The Glee Project at a casting call in New York City. Stroker is a Mezzo-Soprano but because she is paralyzed, she cannot engage her diaphragm, so she created her own singing techniques “to develop resonance so my voice would carry.”
Stroker guest-starred on Season 4 of Glee, then her agent sent her to audition for a Deaf West Theatre production of Spring Awakening.
In 2015, Stroker won the role of Anna. When Spring Awakening opened on Broadway, Stroker became the first actress in a wheelchair to appear on a Broadway stage.
The show was a smash. So was Stroker.
She has had several stage, TV and film parts, and she will have many more, but to date she is best known for Rogers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!
But there’s more to her than her craft. Did you know she’s a strong swimmer, and is learning to surf? Did you know she’s co-chair of Women Who Care, which supports United Cerebral Palsy of New York City? And she’s a founding member of Be More Heroic, an anti-bullying campaign which tours the country connecting with thousands of students each year. She’s also gone to South Africa with ARTS InsideOut, where she has held theater classes and workshops for women and children affected by HIV and AIDS.
She credits a strong support system for her success. That support system includes her parents and boyfriend. “I’m so glad to have a partner who gets it,” she said. “He encourages me when I’m scared to go after the things I want.”
When Stroker won her Tony Award at Radio City Music Hall, she did not emerge from the crowd. She was backstage. Like many old buildings, the Music Hall, which opened in 1932, was not wheelchair accessible from the audience.
Stroker said the Music Hall did the best it could, but was limited by
It’s not a problem unique to the Music Hall, but it is emblematic.
For the disabled community, access is a profound word.
Access to stages. To roles. To higher education. To jobs. To Stroker and thousands upon thousands of others, access is opportunity.
“As a society, we have to work on improving access,” Stroker said. “I’ve found that theaters being built now are doing that.”
William Shakespeare famously said that all the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.
If that’s true, then Stroker is a player in the limelight, staging her encore. As she stated in a recent interview with The New York Times, “I know in many ways that this is what I was born to do…it’s so clear I was meant to be in this seat.”
Breast cancer is one of the most common kinds of cancer in women. About 1 in 8 women born today in the United States will get breast cancer at some point.
The good news is that most women can survive breast cancer if it’s found and treated early. A mammogram – the screening test for breast cancer – can help find breast cancer early when it’s easier to treat.
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a chance to raise awareness about the importance of finding breast cancer early. Make a difference!
Spread the word about mammograms, and encourage communities, organizations, families, and individuals to get involved.
How can National Breast Cancer Awareness Month make a difference?
We can use this opportunity to spread the word about taking steps to detect breast cancer early.
Here are just a few ideas:
Ask doctors and nurses to speak to women about the importance of getting screened for breast cancer.
Encourage women ages 40 to 49 to talk with their doctors about when to start getting mammograms.
Organize an event to talk with women ages 50 to 74 in your community about getting mammograms every 2 years.
The Affordable Care Act requires most health plans to cover mammograms for women over age 40. Depending on your insurance plan, you may be able to get mammograms at no cost to you. Talk to your insurance company to learn more.
Like all medical tests, mammograms have pros and cons. These pros and cons depend on your age and your risk for breast cancer. Use the questions below to start a conversation with your doctor about mammograms.
What do I ask the doctor?
Visiting the doctor can be stressful. It helps to have questions for the doctor written down ahead of time. Print this list of questions and take it with you to your next appointment. You may also want to ask a family member or close friend to go with you to take notes.
Do I have any risk factors that increase my chances of getting breast cancer?
-What will happen when I go to get mammograms?
-How long will it take to get the results of my mammograms?
-If I don’t hear back about the results of my mammograms, does that mean everything is okay?
If you are under age 50, you might want to ask:
-Should I start getting regular mammograms? If so, how often?
-What are the pros and cons of getting mammograms before age 50?
If you are age 50 to 74, you might want to ask:
-How often should I get mammograms?
-What are the pros and cons of getting mammograms every 2 years instead of every year?
As Breast Cancer Awareness Month begins on October 1, the Albuquerque Police Department is showing its support by painting a new patrol car bright pink — the official color of breast cancer awareness.
For the entire month, the eye-catching vehicle will cruise the streets of Albuquerque, New Mexico to raise awareness.
“Our mission with the car is to create breast cancer awareness, and acknowledge the fight against all cancer,” Albuquerque police said.
The car recently appeared at a Care4Cancer Car Show to raise funds.
“The pink car shows APD’s support and solidarity throughout the community, as everyone has been affected in some way by cancer,” the department said in the Facebook post.
Police stations across the nation are embracing pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. A number of other cities also have pink police vehicles patrolling their streets, including El Segundo, California and Novi, Michigan.
Some stations have adopted pink badges for the month of October as part of the Pink Patch Project, a fundraising and awareness-building campaign carried out by public safety agencies worldwide.
The El Segundo Police Department tweeted “During the month of October keep an eye out for your Officers’ wearing Pink ESPD patches! October is breast cancer awareness month and we are participating in the @PinkPatchPrjct to raise awareness and money to assist with treatment and research http://www.espdppp.com“.
Former NFL running back DeAngelo Williams has paid for over 500 mammograms for women—because, to him, the issue is personal.
He always wore the color pink in his hair, which flowed out from his helmet, during his later years as a player for the Carolina Panthers and Pittsburgh Steelers.
“Pink is not a color—it’s a culture to me.”
He created the DeAngelo Williams Foundation in honor of his mother, Sandra Hill, who died of breast cancer in 2006. All four of her sisters then died from the same disease—all before the age of 50.
He originally chose to pay for 53 mammograms because his mom died at age 53. He called the project #53StrongforSandra.” Since then, they have paid for 500 mammogram screenings for under-insured women in four states—North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Arkansas, all states he has football ties in.
What do you see when you look at Carol Burnett? How about Rosie O’Donnell or Margaret Cho? As for Maysoon Zayid, an actress who’s butted up against thousands of closed doors, she saw beauty. The beauty of opportunity.
“I realized that comedy was my way into Hollywood,” said Zayid, a stand-up comedian set to debut her new television series, Can Can. “I lucked out because I’m funny.”
Zayid galloped after her acting dream once she earned her degree in theater from Arizona State University … but it was a rocky start.
“I realized very quickly that casting directors were not taking me seriously because of my disability, cerebral palsy,” said Mansoon, in an interview with DIVERSEability Magazine. “I also became acutely aware of the fact that I didn’t see people who looked like me, a multiple minority, on TV.”
Born and raised in Cliffside, New Jersey, Zayid is of Palestinian descent.
As an advocate for equal rights for people with disabilities, she’s a shot in the arm to others who continue to face closed doors.
“People who have CP or other disabilities have often thanked me for being shameless about my shaking,” Zayid said. “Parents of kids with disabilities who are not disabled themselves tend to be inspired by how influential my father was in my life. They say it gives them hope that if they, too, are a good parent their child will thrive. People who feared disability seem relieved to be able to laugh about it while learning to be more inclusive. Some people just laugh because it’s funny. They are not learning, they are not inspired, and that is totally fine by me.”
ABC agreed to pick up Can Can last year—Zayid is still waiting for the word on when it will air.
“I am creator writer, star and producer on Can Can,” she said. “I definitely don’t want to direct myself. It is a comedy series that revolves around a woman who happens to have CP balancing work, family and relationships. That’s all I can tell you for now. Stay tuned!”
You might learn a lot by watching Can Can, or you might learn nothing at all but simply laugh out loud. Either way, Zayid will be pleased.
“I’m here to make people laugh, not to preach. If they learn to be better people in the process, that’s great, too,” the 45-year-old comedian said.
Zayid started her acting career spending two years on the popular soap opera As the World Turns, and she has also made guest appearances on Law & Order, NBC Nightly News and ABC’s 20/20.
During her early acting experiences, she found both her disability and her ethnicity repeatedly limiting her advancement. Zayid then turned to stand-up and began appearing at New York’s top clubs, including Carolines on Broadway, Gotham Comedy Club, and Stand Up NY, where she tackled some serious topics, such as terrorism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
She co-founded the New York Arab-American Comedy Festival in 2003 with comedian Dean Obeidallah. Held annually in New York City, the festival showcases Arab-American comics, actors, playwrights and filmmakers.
In late 2006, Zayid debuted her one-woman show, Little American Whore, at Los Angeles’ Comedy Central Stage; it was produced and directed by Kathy Najimy. In 2008, the show’s screenplay was chosen for the Sundance Screenwriters Lab. Production began with Maysoon as the lead in the fall of 2009.
Zayid usually tours by herself or as a special guest on the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour. She also co-hosts the radio show Fann Majnoon (Arabic for “crazy art”) with Obeidallah.
Zayid can be seen in the 2013 documentary, The Muslims Are Coming!, which follows a group of Muslim-American stand-up comedians touring the United States in an effort to counter Islamophobia. The documentary also features various celebrities such as Jon Stewart, David Cross, Janeane Garofalo and Rachel Maddow.
Cerebral palsy is extremely difficult, even torturous, so how does one make it funny?
Here’s Zayid in one of her stand-up routines, talking about getting passed over for the part of—can you guess?—a person with cerebral palsy.
“I went racing to the head of the theater department, crying hysterically like someone shot my cat, to ask her why, and she said it was because they didn’t think I could do the stunts,” Zayid said, with a quizzical, comical look. “I said, ‘Excuse me, if I can’t do the stunts than neither can the character!’”
Welcome to Zayid’s world, where one’s misfortune can be funny. It’s okay.
Audiences probably feel for her—“It’s exhausting,” she says of the constant shaking. But soon enough, they’re laughing from the gut up as they become more familiar—and following Maysoon’s lead, more comfortable—with her condition.
That’s key. Her shows have a family feel. Out of decency, respect and, yes, fear, folks do not laugh about a disability until they’re given permission to by an insider.
Here’s how Zayid-the-insider introduced herself at one show in San Francisco: “I don’t want anyone in this room to feel bad for me,” she said, scanning the crowd with her trademark goofy gaze. “Because at some point in your life, you’ve dreamt of being disabled. Come on a journey with me: It’s Christmas Eve. You’re at the mall. You’re driving around in circles looking for parking, and what do you see? Sixteen empty handicapped spaces. And you’re like, ‘God, can’t I just be a little disabled?’”
Of people with disabilities, Zayid says, “We are not happy snowflake angel babies. We grow up, have relationships, experience a range of emotions, and deal with things like chronic pain. Not everybody in the disability community wants to be ‘cured.’ We can have multiple disabilities and also be multiple minorities. Disability intersects with every community.”
She points out that about 20 percent of Americans have a disability. “Disability doesn’t discriminate—you can become part of this group at any time,” she said. “We are 20 percent of the population, and disability rights are human rights.”
So, if you haven’t already, put Can Can on your radar as a must-see show. It’s possible you might learn a little something, but one thing is sure—you’ll definitely laugh.