‘Is this going to be a gift or a burden?’
Great story in the Tribune – HT to Deacon Tom Kandra
Osteogenesis imperfecta: Motivational speaker Sean Stephenson uses his disorder to inspire others
His mom asked him the question that changed is life: ‘Is this going to be a gift or a burden?’
| Tribune reporter
May 5, 2009
Born with a disorder that would leave him 3 feet tall and so brittle that coughing could fracture a rib, Sean Stephenson could not walk as a child. He was racked with pain. People stared at him all the time.
Except on Halloween. On Halloween, everyone looked different. His distinct physical appearance, the consequence of osteogenesis imperfecta, helped him blend in, and he loved that.
But on Halloween morning 1988, he broke his leg after catching it on a door frame.
His favorite day became an agonizing one. He was hysterical until his mother asked him the question that would change his life:
“Is this going to be a gift or a burden?”
Two decades later, the man who at birth was supposed to survive only 24 hours is doing his best to convert what would seem to be an insurmountable challenge into a gift — to himself and others.
Stephenson, who turns 30 on Tuesday, is a psychotherapist and inspirational speaker. His self-help book, “Get Off Your ‘But,’ ” was released Friday, and on April 25 he finished filming a TV documentary pilot for A&E. A college graduate pursuing a PhD in clinical hypnosis, he’s toying with the idea of running for Congress, after he opens orphanages for kids with disabilities and a summer camp aimed at eliminating “self-sabotage” in children. continue