“The ornament’s message is about the inclusion of children with disabilities.
I hope every family will be proud to hang this ornament on their Christmas tree.”
– Krystyna Gawlik
In 2005, Zach Woolley – a then 14-year-old participant at United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Birmingham – was the inspiration for a limited edition
Holiday ornament. This special keepsake captures the joy of receiving a gift from Santa. The ornament was sold to raise funds for both the local UCP organization – now United Ability – and the national UCP network. This is only the beginning of the story.
Designer Krystyna Gawlik commissioned Polish carver Mieszko Tylmiesz to create the mold for the ornament. Through this partnership, Zach discovered that Tylmiesz’s daughter – who had also been diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy – was using an adult chair that did not fit her properly and was uncomfortable for her to use.
Zach began his own fundraising efforts and was able to secure not only the correctly sized wheelchair but also a bath chair for the girl. True to his advocacy-focused nature, Zach turned the fundraiser featuring him into an opportunity to help someone else, despite being a world away.
In the more than a decade since these events, Zach has continued to show what he can do. While earning 2 degrees at Mississippi State, he secured a 12-week internship with the American Association of People with Disabilities in Washington, D.C. This opportunity allowed him to work in congressional offices, federal agencies, and a variety of organizations to advocate for people across the country with disabilities.
As he shared with us at the 2018 Journey of Hope event, he is now pursuing a degree at the Birmingham School of Law. Never one to be daunted, Zach spoke at the event to share his experiences and determination AFTER spending the day taking an exam for school.
This ornament is a tangible expression of United Ability’s past, the future we create for those who use our programs, and proof of the true abilities of every individual.
THANK YOU for the valuable part you play in helping translate this promise into reality.
A very limited number of ornaments remain, CLICK HERE to purchase.