‘Faith can move mountains’: 22-year-old Gordonville photographer captures world from her wheelchair | Faith & Values

by AryanArtnews
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Morgan Smoker seems to be a lot of 22 year olds.

Residents of Gordonville enjoy playing by the family pool, listening to country music, taking pictures, working, and going to church.

She travels, cheers for the Philadelphia Eagles, and likes to go to the park with a Yorkie dog named Roxy. And she really enjoys making ironic comments on the internet.

She does all this from an electric wheelchair with the help of an Accent 1400 communication device, a machine that assists in composing messages and loading pre-programmed responses. The smoker’s message is displayed on the screen and verbalized with computerized voice. The machine can also send emails and text messages. To operate Accent 1400, the smoker moves the cursor on the screen through the dot sensor on the forehead.

The smoker was born with glutaric aciduria type 1. It is a hereditary disease that prevents the body from processing certain proteins.

“Some people don’t think I can do anything specific, but I’m more than that,” Smoker wrote in an email. “Many people don’t know what they’re saying just because they’re in a wheelchair. I’m 100% mentally competent. When they look at me, I just smile at them. increase.”

Glutaric aciduria type 1 is another in the Amish community in the United States, according to a 2019 interview with Adam Heaps, managing director of the Strasburg Clinic for Special Children, where smokers are being treated. It is 100 times more common than the region. population. Due to the reduction of genetic variation known as the founder effect, certain genetic disorders occur more frequently in groups such as the Amish and Mennonite communities. Glutaric aciduria affects 1 in 250 people in the Amish community.

Neither the smoker nor her parents were raised in Amish. Her grandparents left the community when her grandmother Priscilla Burn was 16 years old. However, smokers still have a family in the Amish community, which includes 67 cousins. She lives with her mother Lanita, her father Ben, her brothers Austin (21 years old), Shania (17 years old), Tori (15 years old) and Gordonville.

Determined and promoted

When the smoker was only a few months old, she became ill with fever and had to be taken to the hospital. Her illness was associated with glutaric aciduria, resulting in some brain damage and loss of athletic performance.

Smokers cannot walk, talk, or control their hands. Initially, doctors thought she needed to eat only through her feeding tube, but her parents worked hard to allow her to chew and swallow her food.

“She is very determined,” says Morgan’s mother, Lanita Smoker. “I think she can do anything.”

Nancy Bills, the mother of Greg Finger, a family friend and smoker’s boyfriend, takes the concept one step further. 23-year-old Finger lives in Stevens.

“The only thing this kid can’t do is walk,” says Bills. “We want all people with disabilities to know that just because they are in a wheelchair does not mean they cannot succeed. They can really reach their limits, regardless of their physical fitness. You need to know. Morgan has shown me a lot that just because you don’t have a leg doesn’t mean you can’t avoid it. Have others look at her attitude in life. I want to. “

Shoot her shot

Smokers graduated from Pekea Valley High School in 2018 and attended the Lancaster County Career & Technology Center for two years to study photography.

“When I started, I didn’t know what I was doing, but I knew I liked doing it,” Smoker wrote in an email. “I went around my development and pursued photography with all my might and started taking all the pictures. Trees, flowers, sunsets, etc. I started asking my friends and family if they could take pictures, but I myself. It’s getting better and better. “

The smoker’s Accent 1400 machine also helps her take pictures. The machine is connected to the smoker’s Canon camera, which moves its head to control the forehead sensor and navigate the machine’s pointer. Click the spacebar to take a picture.

Morgan Smoker sits in a wheelchair outside his family’s Lee Koch Township home on Thursday, April 24, 2022. Her cannon camera is mounted on the front of her wheelchair to take a picture of her.

Smokers began professional shooting shortly after attending the Lancaster County Career & Technology Center. She takes freelance photos of her weddings, portraits, etc. through her website morgansmokersphotography.mypixieset.com and works at Get the Picture in Dutch Wonderland.

“I always like to work. I think you can call me a hard worker,” Smoker wrote in a text message.

Smokers initially began working with their parents, who own and operate two Auntie Anne’s franchises in Dutch Wonderland. My parents were transporting pretzels between locations.

Next, Tara Olson, who works with Dutch Wonderland vendor Get the Picture, hired Smoker.

“She was great from day one,” says Olson. “She is our top photographer. She has made more sales than any of our photographers in the last few years. She always wants to work as much time as possible.”

Inspiration-and naughty

Smokers enjoy going to New Holland’s worship center when not taking pictures in Dutch Wonderland.

She says her faith plays a major role in her life and success.

“Our God works in a mysterious way, and I love him for it,” the smoker wrote in an email. “Faith can move the mountains. It helped me thank everything and everything. God gave me this life. I’m angry that I’m in a wheelchair. It’s not about standing up, it’s about affecting the future of others. “

The smoker’s ability to inspire others and her positive outlook are some of the qualities that her friends and family respect for her.

“I love her for her strength and inspiration for others,” says her boyfriend Greg Finger. A smoker with spina bifida and a finger got acquainted from kindergarten and joined the prom together in 2018.

“She has the greatest heart I know,” says Bills, Stevens Finger’s mother. “She is looking for something good in everything.”

“She inspires literally everyone you meet,” says Stevens’ friend Adrian Bills. “She has the best sense of humor. I don’t think she’s big enough to fit everyone who loves this girl.”

In fact, the smoker’s mind, strength, and ability to inspire others may all be second only to another personality trait. She likes mischievous things.

“She always enjoys joking, playing pranks and hanging out,” says Angie La Fontiane, one of the nurses who works with Smoker. “She is good at getting others involved in jokes and pranks. She always supports me with her toes. She is also very sweet and compassionate when she’s not pranking. She’s ever been. I’ve seen her get in the way to make people feel welcome in different environments. She’s a totally wonderful little power that makes you want to come back more. “

Morgan Smoker

Angela La Fontaine, one of Morgan Smoker’s nurses, hands Roxy to Morgan on Thursday, April 24, 2022, in a wheelchair outside the family’s Lee Koch Township home.

Her grandmother Priscilla Burn agrees.

“She’s definitely a healthy person,” says Lancaster Burn. “She is a very positive, happy and energetic person. She struggles with everyone-especially her Grammy Awards.”

And Nancy Bills remembers that when she first met the smoker, she ran an electric wheelchair on her feet.

“She thought it was the weirdest thing,” says Nancy Bills.

“She loves life,” says Lanita. “She is very sociable. She loves to be around people. And she is very independent and tenacious.”

Her strength, independence, and tenacity were exhibited during her recent shift in her photography work at Dutch Wonderland. While doing her job on the Easter weekend, the smoker’s wheelchair fell for the first time and she had to be taken to the emergency room. She took several tests and was released with a clean health bill. A few hours later she returned to her job.

“Nothing can stop me,” she says.


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