Step Out of Line

The goal in life is not to satisfy others’ expectations, but to create your own goals and when so inspired, “‘Step Out of Line’” (credit to Alex Bornstein, Emmy acceptance speech, 2019). Peri demonstrates this by being a trailblazer in forming her own path, owning her differences and not allowing her physical disability define who she is as a person. Peri has demonstrated over the past ten years that she is an athlete with an ability by racing the last segment of the annual Miami Marathon. In the February 9, 2020 Miami Half Marathon, Lifetime Fitness pulled a ‘fast one’ and Peri had to finish the marathon in a Rifton gait trainer on one-inch thick carpet, a nightmare to anyone who navigates by wheels. Nevertheless, Peri exceeded her expectations and was able to finally see the finish line due to a significant change in her posture, something that Peri and her Physical Therapist, Amanda Stay, have been striving to accomplish for years. It certainly was an indescribable moment.

At eight months old, Peri was diagnosed with Nemaline Rod Myopathy, a rare form of congenital Muscular Dystrophy that subsequently affects the weakness in her muscles and nerves. She is on a ventilator 24/7, has a tracheotomy tube, is mobile via an electric wheelchair and requires full-time nursing care. Throughout Peri’s childhood, she underwent countless surgeries and was hospitalized with numerous respiratory infections. After coding in numerous dire medical crises and requiring extensive medical care, it was unsure as to where her future was headed. Today, Peri is a positive, intellectual and sharp-witted collegiate who is a marketing major at Adelphi University, striving to make the world a better place for individuals like herself and continuing to step out of line by constantly challenging society’s expectations and debunking the confining social construct placed daily on people with disabilities. Peri emphasizes the need to put the “person” first and allowing her disability to be a blip in the equation.

For 20 years, Chai Lifeline has embellished our lives with happiness, hope and a dash of sparkle through the plethora of programs and services that they offer. They gave us a chance to be a family by paving a path for us to thrive on and allowing Peri to accept herself, normalize her surroundings and accept her “differences.” Camp Simcha Special, Wish at the Wall, Big Brothers and Sisters, and delivering meals and toys during our lengthy hospital stays all became to be more than our lifeline, but a step to Peri maturing into an independent, determined and unstoppable woman. Chai Lifeline assisted her in finding herself and her passion, and now it is our time to give back. 

Due to COVID-19, the Miami Marathon has cancelled its race in 2021. However, Team Peri plans on embarking on our 12th Miami Half Marathon and Peri’s 10th marathon with Team Lifeline on February 6, 2022 and we are coming back stronger than ever before. Over the course of the next year, our goal is to raise awarness and funds for Chai Lifeline and share our story through our network that we have created. Be a part of Team Peri and help us reach our goal. We all have the ability to #StepOutofLine, each in our own way, and on behalf of Team Peri, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being a part of this incredible journey. Your donation and support is much appreciated. We would not be able to do it without you.