Not another girl in a wheelchair

Savannah Tucker in front of the fountain on the Memorial Student Center plaza.

The section labelled “Students with Disabilities” in every course syllabus may not mean much to most Marshall University students, but it does to Savannah Tucker, whose family knew her life would not be the same after being diagnosed with cranial deformity at five days old, leaving both her legs immobile.

The particular policy states, “Marshall is committed to making all programs, services, and activities fully accessible to students with disabilities.”

Tucker, a sophomore communication disorders major from Beckley, said she has had 21 surgeries from birth until now.

“People always ask me why I’m not sad about my condition or why do I not show self-pity,” Tucker said. “I say it is because of Jesus Christ. If it wasn’t for Him, I wouldn’t be alive.”

When she was younger, her doctors told her parents that her conditions were so serious she might not be able to see, hear or have any cognitive ability.

“The fact that I am in college, my doctors are just amazed,” Tucker said.

As a resident of Burskirk Hall at Marshall, Tucker said staff at the residence hall are always helpful and understanding of her situation.

Tucker said there were instances when the automatic door was broken and they fixed it right away so that it would be more convenient for her.

“I don’t believe everything should be handed to me just because I am in a wheelchair,” Tucker said. “I should work just as hard as somebody else and, of course, there are some extra challenges that I am going to have to face and work around it.”

Sometimes pushing up the hill going to Smith Hall might be tiring for Tucker after a long day of classes, but Tucker said countless students whom she does not know would come up to her and offer to help push her up the hill.

“One hill per day means so much to me,” Tucker said.

As a strong believer of Christ, Tucker said she trusts in God that he fearfully and wonderfully made her, and she takes advantage of her condition to be a living testimony to others.

“The way I was born wasn’t a mistake, it’s a way to help others and to praise his name,” Tucker said.

Kessyl Lim can be contacted at [email protected].