United Ability’s Belinda Dorough on the love of her life and being an advocate for people with disabilities

Sponsored

Belinda Dorough enjoying the United Ability garden

Photo by Jon Eastwood for Bham Now

Belinda Dorough’s smile lights up the room as she discusses her love for her husband, Daniel Creech, and her advocacy journey for people with disabilities in Birmingham and beyond.

The couple met nearly five years ago at United Ability’s LINCPoint Adult Day Program for adults with disabilities. Both have Cerebal Palsy and spend most of their time in wheelchairs.

They use speech generating communication devices to talk with each other, friends, family, staff, and at their jobs; Belinda is a greeter at Belk, and Daniel greets visitors at LINCPoint.

Love for One Another

Belinda Dorough and Daniel Creech enjoying the United Ability garden

Photo by Jon Eastwood for Bham Now

Cupid’s arrow struck hard and following Daniel’s Christmas 2014 proposal, the happy couple married October 2015.

Their love for one another is clear for all to see in their smiles and the way they look tenderly at each other!

Just don’t mention football! Like many marriages in Birmingham, an Alabama-Auburn rivalry runs through this one (though Daniel assures Bham Now it’s “no big deal”!)

Prior to the couples big wedding day, they began looking for an apartment where they could live happily together.

“Before we got married, our case managers began looking for us an apartment together,” said Belinda. “After we got married, we believed that we would move in together. Case managers made us promises but nothing happened. We even visited several apartments. When we thought we were getting close, something would fall apart. It would have been easy for us to give up. But we didn’t.”

With the help of an Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program, Belinda and Daniel’s dream of moving in together finally became a reality! (Awwww!)

“Three years felt like forever, but we kept going. We finally got our apartment on August 8th, 2018. It was the very best day of my life, except for our wedding!” added Belinda.

Ms. Wheelchair Alabama America 2019

Belinda Dorough competing at Ms.Wheelchair Alabama America 2019

Belinda Dorough competing at Ms. Wheelchair Alabama America 2019. Photo via Daniel Creech (Facebook)

Such was Belinda’s joy of finally being able to live with her husband, she decided to compete in the Ms. Wheelchair Alabama America 2019 pageant as a platform to inspire others.

The mission of Ms.Wheelchair Alabama America is to provide an opportunity of achievement for women who happen to be wheelchair users to successfully educate and advocate for the more than 54 million Americans living with disabilities.

Belinda traveled to Huntsville to enter the 2-day competition March 8th & 9th, where following her powerful and motivational speech, she was awarded second place overall!

Congratulations Belinda!

A Passionate Message

Alyssa Scharf, a Speech Language Pathologist at United Ability told Bham Now,  “If you’ve spent any time with Belinda, she’s incredibly passionate, incredibly driven and determined, and made a great candidate. Belinda communicates using a device with icon pictures that represent words.

Belinda Dorough's communication device

Photo by Jon Eastwood for Bham Now

It’s a very complex system that has taken years and years to build up vocabulary. It’s an incredible system. Belinda wrote her speech over the course of a few weeks, she would come in with a couple of sentences at a time and then it was put together for her.”

As part of the emotional message, Belinda addressed the Miss Wheelchair Alabama America panel by saying,

“Every person that has a disability should be an advocate for what they believe. They should also find people to advocate for them and help fight alongside them. Because I truly believe that everyone has the right to live the life they dream of.”

“I have a husband, Daniel, who I love with my whole heart. I want everyone to know that people with disabilities feel love just as much as anyone else.”

We discussed the award-winning speech with Belinda Dorough as we met in United Ability’s garden which was in full spring bloom, and she delivered her full message for us to hear.

Watch Belinda’s message

We couldn’t be happier for this Birmingham couple! Belinda and Daniel, we wish you every happiness together! (Can somebody get us a tissue please?)

Sponsored by:

Author: Jon Eastwood

Originally from Wales (UK) and a fluent Welsh speaker. Longtime sustainability and recycling champion. Former county recycling manager in the UK. Career highlights include introducing innovative recycling systems and achieving a point where households throw out trash just once a month. Competed in international coastal rowing championships and followed Wales throughout Europe in their Rugby and Soccer endeavours.