In My Own Words: Amy Hook, Advocate
My name is Amy Hook, and my story is alive with advocacy and the belief in possibilities. My story started with seizures and boarding schools not wanting to enroll me. When I finally found a school that would take me, they did not want me to participate in sports and other physical activities. We won those battles and I had a very successful education, including an associate degree with a double major.
I had a real problem finding a job because employers were always scared about insurance coverage. I did get a job, but only after I succeeded in getting rid of the seizures. I have been employed by United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Cleveland at Fifth Third Bank since 2005.
I have gone through a stroke and two brain surgeries, after which I had to learn how to walk. The stroke was triggered by a test that had to be done prior to the brain surgeries. So I had to go through that test again to have the second surgery. These all occurred within a five-year period.
I became involved with People First of Cuyahoga County between my surgeries. At first I was very passive, and truthfully, I don’t know if it was the surgery or the seizures that caused me to act that way. I didn’t know what I was getting into though, either.
After my second surgery everything got easier in some ways, but harder in other ways. I was now physically disabled and my peripheral vision was compromised. However, I took the Partners in Policymaking training program and found out what I had to do to get what I need or want. I have continued with People First and Partners in Policymaking. I also have joined the fight for better transportation with the Cuyahoga County Transportation Coalition that LEAP organized. I have attended conferences in Washington through the Arc and Partners in Policymaking. I would love to go again but I don’t have the money to attend.
I have also joined the local Democratic Club and Organizing America, and I have volunteered with the Kucinich and the Obama campaigns. I received an advocacy award from the Arc of Greater Cleveland. I plan to work on a few campaigns through the Democratic Party or on specific campaigns.
Note: Amy Hook is a member of LEAP's e-mail advocacy alert network.