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In Memory of Carla-Helen Toth
by: Mart Gil Abareta
She’s disabled… Yet, she’s a writer… An adventurer… An epitome of strong hope… A great person far better than any other normal human beings…

Many disabled people might think that with their situation, it’s absolutely the end of the world. As if, there’ll be no sunshine in this dark part of their lives. But then, I’ve known Carla. She’s someone who exudes hope and strength for every person who’s in the same situation as with her. I am really enchanted when I’ve learned about the many good things that she’s done despite her condition. Truly remarkable, right?

According to the article “Carla's Memorial” by Chris Clarke which was posted at www.faultline.org last February 8, 2005, a remarkable cross section of Berkeley gathered beneath a gingko tree Saturday morning to mourn the death of Carla-Helen Toth and celebrate her remarkable life. On the campus, the Campanile bells rung, a third of those present in wheelchairs. Her mother, relatives, friends and co-workers were all present in the ceremony to spend that time – even for the last time – with Carla.

For your information, Carla had suffered from cerebral palsy throughout her life, the result of birth injuries. She was killed on February 1, 2005 at 2:45 a.m. by a freight train that struck her after she stopped her wheelchair on the Southern Pacific Railroad tracks on Bancroft Way. Her mother was really very depressed about what happened. She knows that Carla still has many big plans for the future.

What keeps my astonishment going is the thought that Carla has really tried to live her life as if she is normal. Imagine her jet skiing. That’s really cool! And, to use her knowledge and dedication for the things that she loves to do reflect how she wants to be remembered – I must say, she’s someone who has no inhibitions and limitations.

This story is an eye-opener to people who have lost their self-esteem and perseverance due to their disability or sickness. They must all realize how beautiful the world is and that they will always have a special place in this world. They definitely have much to offer in this world if they will only be given the chance. After all, there are basically many Carla-Helen Toth’s who are waiting to be recognized and appreciated.

Carla-Helen Toth’s death is certainly a big loss to her family, her friends, her co-workers, and to the people – esp. the disabled ones – who look up to her for her greatness, brilliance and vitality. Her memories will definitely be remembered and cherished forever.


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