Cerebral palsy can be limiting. Megan Loralee Hickerson, for example, needs 24-hour assistance with everyday activities. But that doesn’t mean she lets her physical limitations keep her from her true passion – writing.
Many of her stories are inspired by her own obstacles and how she’s overcome those. Take Sheriff Annie for example. This fictional character not only works to protect the citizens as a sheriff, but she does while being wheelchair bound.
“I’ve been writing since I was 11,” she said.
Hickerson, now nearly 60, was infected with the writing bug in fourth grade when she saw a character from the TV show “The Walton’s” who aspired to be a writer. She’s been writing short stories, poems and journal entries ever since.
A few years ago, Hickerson printed a limited-edition hardcover book of fiction stories that sold out quickly.
Readers have come up to her during signings, admitting that her stories have helped them overcome their own challenges. According to Hickerson, “God comes to me and plants these ideas and words.”
Hickerson grew up in Burien and has been in the Seattle area ever since. Growing up with cerebral palsy was difficult. She said she remembers watching other kids play and wishing she could play with them.
When she was 18, Hickerson transitioned from her home to an institutional care facility that was shared with 110 others. She spent 13 difficult years there.
Determined to lean into what she loved, she earned an associate degree in creative writing at Highline Community College.
Now, she lives in a house that overlooks the Fairwood golf course and is connected with Kent nonprofit Total Living Concept (TLC) that provides 24-hour assistance and enables her to be independent and empowered.
According to Curtis Hays, one of Hickerson’s direct service providers, Hickerson was more reclusive and depressed before she was connected with TLC. But since she started working with other service providers and job coaches, she’s gained back her spark and started becoming her true, sassy self again.
Even though she’s reaching her golden years, Hickerson is wild child of sorts. Not only has she driven a flown a plane (with the assistance of a licensed pilot, of course), she’s also known for going all out at karaoke with Dolly Parton’s version of “I will always love you.”
Despite having difficulty with speaking, she has no trouble schooling her friends on language.
“See that huge dictionary over there? That’s basically for me when she says words I have to look up,” said Kally Bieber, TLC job coach.
Hickerson still has a list of things she likes to accomplish, including travel to Ireland, complete her next book (which is already in work) and end up on TV, preferably on Ellen.