The latest census report says about 56.7 million people in the U.S live with a disability.
Independence, Inc is an organization here in North Dakota that aims to help people with disabilities,and every year they host an independent living fair to support individuals.
It’s an annual event that features over 40 organizations who provide resources such as recreation, health care, and employment.
“It’s an opportunity to bring together a variety of different people to help people and assist people with disabilities to live in the community,” said executive director Scott Burlingame.
Burlingame says this years attendance broke records.
“People with disabilities are kinda coming out of the wood work and becoming active members of our community,” said Burlingame.
People like like Wanda Aanderud.
“I was 23 years old when this happened, It was a diving accident at Nelson Carson,” said Independence, Inc. Member Wanda Aanderud.
As a result Aanderee suffered spinal injuries to her C4 and 5 vertebrae
“People can sit at home and not know what do I do next,” said Aanderud.
But with support she say’s any one can get through a disability.
“I didn’t have a pity party that I went through a why me, no depression,” said Aaunerud.
Instead Aanderee become a part of organizations like Independence Inc, and started attending events like these.
“They’re teaching me baby steps, and just kind of giving me a voice and to use my voice,” said Aanerud.
She’s happily self employed through an organization called life leadership finding need in the community.
“We just sit and visit and if I find a need I can offer them something, if it’s financial or personal development, whatever it is that’s what I do,” said Aanderud.
Her story is just one of many in this crowded room.