Campus Resources - Mari Schaeffer


Mari SchaefferWhat can I do to help you?

Hey, my name is Mari and I am a typical Greenville college student; typical or "normal" but living with daily physical challenges most college students don't encounter.

Here's a little about my story.

I was a very happy-go-lucky privileged kid living a so-called "normal" Christian life with no worries until my senior year of high school. I suddenly became very ill and was diagnosed with a disease called scleroderma. It caused me to lose mobility which meant I was unable to walk, sit up in a chair or even feed myself. This caused me to become entirely dependent on other people. The disease progressed quickly, also harming my internal organs and I had to go on kidney dialysis to survive.

For nine months I stayed in a hospital not knowing if I would live or die. This made me become very angry at the God I had one loved and served. To make a long story short, I was eventually healed by God, but not until He had broken, melted and remolded me into a very different person. I was changed, not only physically, but I grew far more spiritually-minded. I have been in remission for three years now and although I am scleroderma free, I have been left with daily physical challenges. I knew that God had called me to come to Greenville College and He was going to help me overcome any obstacles set before me.

Coming to college to live in a dorm and have a new life on my own was very exciting for me. I wasn't really thinking about where my classes were, how far I had to walk, or even if there were stairs in the building. I was doing fine with my schedule and walking to class until one day my class was moved from the second to the third floor. I started panicking because I was already having a hard enough time making it to the second floor. I started to cry and my professor saw me and asked what was wrong. I let her know about my disability and by the next time we met for class, we were moved to an accessible classroom.

You see, I was very embarrassed and had a difficult time being up front with people about my challenges. I didn't want to look or be different from the rest of the crowd. However, if I had let them know ahead of time, I would not have been put in this type of a situation. Ever since this happened, I've wanted to help advocate for students with disabilities like me. College is hard enough without having to worry about where your classes are or if your dorm room will be suitable for your special needs. 

I just can't say enough great things about the way Greenville College has embraced me, encouraged me, and helped me with my challenges. Everyone from the president's office, student development and janitorial staff has been awesome.

I want to encourage anyone with special challenges to feel confident that Greenville College will make every effort possible to meet your needs and make you feel at ease.

So, HEY, I'm Mari, just a normal Greenville college student, that's been transformed into an extraordinary servant and lover of our great big wonderful God!

Now, let us know, "What can we do for you?"

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