Rare Disease Week is the week that leads up to Rare Disease Day, which is recognized on the last day of February. This year, we are bringing special attention to these events with a series of patient stories, with one being released each day from Monday the 21st to Friday the 25th. At Patient Worthy, our main focus is on sharing the stories of rare disease patients. With this initiative, we are making this more of a priority than ever before.
Hello! My name is David Garcia. I am a Colombian-American sixth year chemistry PhD student at Brown University. I am set to defend my thesis this upcoming April and graduate in May. I was born with Moebius syndrome with defects to my abducens nerve limiting the peripheral movement of my eyes. I was also born with partial hands and no feet. As you know too well, it doesn’t end here and soon I will face the real world. While my intention was to pursue a job in biotech, this summer I had a life-changing experience during a trip to Paris.
I had always dreamed of going to Paris, and this summer, my dream came to fruition. I was ready to experience many memorable events like eating delicious food, tasting exquisite wine, and seeing beautiful world landmarks. What I didn’t expect was for a few French words to change the trajectory of my life. It all occurred at a very unlikely place, the Champs Elysee metro stop. Heatheran, my close friend and agent, and I had arrived at our stop. We stepped out of the train and began walking toward the exit. As we were exiting, I noticed a mother and her son walking toward us. After taking a closer look, I realized that the boy had a debilitating limp that made it difficult to walk. “You are not alone,” I thought to myself. Difficulty walking was something I was very familiar with. I greeted them with a smile and said, “Bonjour.” The mother responded, “Bonjour.” The boy looked up but quickly and shyly looked away. As I passed them, I heard his mother say in French, “Did you see that guy? Did you see his hands? He has a disability just like you, and he looked so confident and happy.” Initially, I didn’t think too hard about what she said, but then my mind started to run and it hit me. For the majority of my life I felt like I was constantly battling the world. It was David versus the preconceptions of society. I felt an insatiable desire to prove to everyone that I was capable of anything. I felt confused not seeing any disabled people in positions of success. I felt aimless without a disabled role model to look up to. I felt isolated in the struggle against Moebius syndrome.
I often remember the exchange I had with the mother and her son by the metro… I remember the mother’s smile. I remember her son’s low self-esteem, timidity, and uncertainty. I was that boy twenty years ago. Since then, I have learned from my experiences which enable me to place trust in myself and my vision. A vision designed to defy and shatter all societal preconceptions of people with disabilities. I now know what I am destined to do in this world and my purpose in life…
It is to share my successes and struggles.
It is to motivate people to be relentless in the pursuit of their dreams.
It is to inspire those who were told they can’t be great.
It is to be limitless.
As such, I have decided to pursue a career as a motivational speaker, model, and ambassador for people with disabilities. To begin, I grouped a team of my closest friends at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and founded David Garcia Limitless (DGL) on June 28, 2019. On October 26th of the same year, I held a small event at Brown and launched DGL. At the launch, I screened a video that my team and I made to get my story out there. The following day, I released the video on social media platforms Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. I encourage you to watch the video below.
If you would like to contact me with any feedback or questions, send me a message on my social media accounts. Search for and like David Garcia Limitlesson Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube. Thank you all for taking the time to read my story.
We believe rare disease patients are people, not a diagnosis. Through education, awareness and some humor, we help patients, caregivers and support persons by providing relevant and often inspirational news and stories.
Our goals are to share stories, cultivate strong community, provide the latest medical findings, connect people and pioneer production of patient worthy information. Help us attain these goals by telling us a little bit about yourself!