Tracy Coval

Motivational Speaker - Disability Advocate - Artist - Writer

Motivational Speaker - Disability Advocate - Artist - Writer

Motivational Speaker - Disability Advocate - Artist - WriterMotivational Speaker - Disability Advocate - Artist - Writer

About Me

At the age of eleven, I was diagnosed with a chronic neuromuscular disease, affecting the sympathetic and autonomic nervous systems. This condition affected my lower extremities. Little did I know what was really going on in my body, would change my life forever. 

In 2015, life drastically changed after I lost control of my car while driving home. Fast forward to 2018-2019, I learned the truth behind my health; I was born with multiple birth defects, and my spine was broken. I did not receive proper treatment until my late 20's. If all are left untreated, the spinal cord will continue to deteriorate, and lead to paralysis.

Many providers doubted I'd be able to walk again because of the spinal cord damage. Many surgeries were necessary to repair the damage to my legs and spine. With all of the uncertainty, I was determined to overcome these obstacles. I've always believed in the motto, 'Losing is not an option'.

Experiencing a life changing circumstance teaches many lessons. We don’t realize how much we take for granted, until something drastically happens. When handed bitter lemons, you must find  a way to make a sweet lemonade. Unanticipated situations are out of your control, and it's possible to overcome any hurdle. It’s all about your mindset and motivation to succeed.

In society, it's engraved in our heads to judge others when you don't look like the 'typical' person. News flash, a 'typical' or 'normal' person does not exist. Labeling others can be damaging to one's self esteem, confidence, and mental health. Instead of feeling uncomfortable and embarrassed by your 'label', embrace who you are. It doesn’t matter what you look like on the outside. What matters, is who you are on the inside.

My Education and Work Experiences

Graduated Lesley University with a Bachelors of Science in 2013, majoring in counseling with a minor in art therapy.  Previous work experience focused on mental health, with a specialty working in crisis situations. 

Pursued a Master of Social Work in 2013, with an intent to graduate May, 2016. Due to my medical circumstances, I was forced to walk away from the program, with 4 classes, and an internship remaining.  

Certified Art Therapy Life Coach; completed June, 2019

Volunteer opportunities were steered towards working with non-profit organizations.  Currently a grant committee member; the purpose of this emergency fund is to assist individuals living with a chronic neuromuscular illness who have a financial hardship. Previously a board member for a support group, tailored towards adolescents and young adults living with chronic pain. 

Speaking obligations include a faculty speaker at the 4th Annual CSF Disorders Symposium: From Canvas to Clinic held at Brown University.

Written pieces featured through The RSD Association, The Mighty, and Yoocan Do Anything.