Remembering Lois Carter, whose U.S. Supreme Court case gave me a better life

President Barack Obama looks at a painting by Lois Curtis during a meeting in the Oval Office, June 20, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Albany, Oregon, U.S.A. – Lois Carter, a plaintiff in a landmark U.S. Supreme Court disability rights case, died last week of pancreatic cancer.

That court case, known as the Olmstead decision, gave disabled people the right to live in their own homes instead of being institutionalized.

Lois had an intellectual disability and mental illness.

I didn’t know her, but when I found out that she died, it affected me greatly.

Because of her, I live in my own home instead of an institution.

The only places that I would have been able to get care before her case were in nursing homes and hospitals.

But I have a right to live with my family, thanks to her.

I can live my life how it was meant to be lived.

When the Supreme Court ruled in 1999 in the Olmstead vs L.C case, the disability community unlocked the capacity to live life just like everyone else.

I’m a teenager who is on life support, living at home.

Before the Olmstead vs L.C ruling the idea of a person on life support living at home or going out was not imaginable.

We need more people like Lois. The world’s inaccessiblity and the way it inhibits disabled communities is far from over.

We need more disability rights activists to continue the long fight ahead.

McKenzie Andersen is a Junior Reporter and Illustrator with Youth Journalism International.

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