Friday, May 3, 2013

Alumna and her husband with inspiring story in national contest

Megan McLeod Cutter ’98 and her husband, Barton, spend their days teaching people how to overcome the challenges of disabilities or how to make their organizations more accessible for those with disabilities. Now Barton is among the “Local Heroes” in a contest to win a wheelchair-accessible van, and some of Megan’s classmates and other alumnae hope to help him win.

The contest, sponsored by National Mobility Awareness Month and the National Mobility Equipment Dealers of America, asks people to nominate and vote for inspiring people with mobility impairments. The winner will be chosen from among entrants with vote totals in the top 5 percent.

Megan and Barton, who was born with cerebral palsy, met at a martial arts seminar several years after she graduated from R-MWC; they fell in love during nine months of exchanging poetry across the country from each other. Today, they own Cutter’s Edge Consulting. They recently published Ink in the Wheels: Stories to Make Love Roll, a memoir about their relationship and the challenges faced by inter-ability couples.

Unfortunately, the week after the book’s release, they experienced vehicle trouble and learned that Megan’s car was beyond repair. Barton entered the National Mobility Awareness Month contest this spring, and he has garnered more than 11,000 votes.

Kate Leaming Goldberg ’98 learned about Barton’s involvement in the contest after she read Ink in the Wheels, which she said transformed her views regarding people with disabilities. “It was inspiring to see how they faced adversity and made it through,” she said. She started reaching out to other alumnae and friends to encourage votes for Barton.

Megan said they were surprised by the reaction they have seen. “We were unaware of the support we would find, particularly in my college community,” she said. “At first, I saw just a few classmates re-posting our funny pictures, but then several people got their hands on our memoir and a wave of support began to spread. I am so grateful to have reconnected with classmates, honored to be part of our college community and so thankful to feel the support from friends.”

Learn more about Barton, and cast a vote for him, on his National Mobility Awareness Month profile. Each person can vote once per device each day, and voting closes at the end of the day on May 10.