Honoring Dads with Disabilities


Ken Weas walks his daughter Megan down the aisle during her wedding. Photo courtesy Weas family.

Join PN Online as we pause to honor dads everywhere this Father's Day

Ken Weas, a dad who has quadriplegia, used a standing wheelchair to “walk” his daughter down the aisle at her wedding. It was the first time they were eye-to-eye while standing. In honor of Father’s Day, the June 2013 PN includes this moving story, written by Megan Weas to recognize what her dad has meant to her life.

Spinal-cord injury (SCI) or other disabilities do not automatically banish a person to “the world that forgot about sex.” Society as a whole now can accept that sex, marriage, and being a parent can be part of anyone’s life — with or without a disability. Men with disabilities celebrate Father’s Day as enthusiastically as those who are able-bodied.

The idea of Father’s Day was conceived slightly more than a century ago by Sonora Dodd of Spokane, Wash., while she listened to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909. Dodd wanted a special day to honor her father, William Smart, a widowed Civil War veteran who was left to raise his six children on a farm. The first Father’s Day celebration was June 17, 1910, proclaimed by Spokane’s mayor because it was the month of Smart’s birth.

The first presidential proclamation honoring fathers was issued in 1966 when President Lyndon Johnson designated the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Father’s Day has been celebrated annually since 1972, when President Richard Nixon signed the public law that made it permanent.

Fast Father's Day Facts:

• Estimated number of fathers in the United States: 70.1 million (1).

• Of the noninstitutionalized population of the U.S., men with disabilities number an estimated 18 million (2).

• Almost 1.8 million parents with disabilities who have children under age 18 are dads (3).

To all the dads in this group — as well as those everywhere — Happy Father’s Day!

 

Read the PN article Standing Tall about Ken and Megan Weas right here on PN Online.

 

 

(1) Source: Unpublished data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation; America's Families and Living Arrangements <http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/hh-fam.html> Table FG1

(2) 2011 American Community Survey, factfinder2.census.gov.

(3) Kaye, H. Steven. Current Demographics of Parents with Disabilities in the U.S. Berkeley, CA: Through the Looking Glass, 2012.

 

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