In mid-November, Greenville resident Jane Hart completed all 22 miles of the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail with her daughter, Grayson, who is wheelchair-bound. Grayson has a rare genetic disorder called STXBP1, which causes her to have seizures and muscle spasms. She is also nonverbal.
A lifelong fan of nature
Although Hart has lived in Greenville for the past 18 years, she had not been a regular visitor to the trail. But she knew her daughter, who just turned 25 years old, was a lifelong fan of nature, so the trail seemed like an ideal setting for her.
While Grayson is small for her age — standing 5 feet, 5 inches tall, and weighing around 90 pounds — the wheelchair that provides her with mobility clocks in at around 200 pounds, meaning walking the trail and bracing for the hills can be a bit intimidating, according to Hart.
But after visiting the Furman section of the trail for the first time on Sept. 18, she could tell how much Grayson enjoyed the trip.
Soon, they ventured to the Travelers Rest portion and walked back to the end. They soon walked to other portions of the trail, often scouting out the best place to start.
“She can be asleep in the van on the way to the Swamp Rabbit Trail, but when I get her out of that van, she is awake. She’s watching nature or people. She absolutely loves it,” Hart says.
Serving as Grayson’s primary caregiver comes with its share of unique challenges, but Hart credits her strong faith as a guiding force in her life, believing that she was chosen to be Grayson’s mother for a reason. She prefers the term “differently abled” when speaking of her daughter, noting that Grayson has always managed to demonstrate her abilities despite preconceived notions of what a wheelchair-bound individual can be capable of.
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Yoga, for example.
Grayson practices what Hart calls “Modified Ability Yoga,” and Hart has even started a business teaching yoga to others with physical challenges.
Although she realizes some people’s first impression might be that a person in a wheelchair cannot do yoga, Hart says, “Why not?”
This is the same question she asked before she and her daughter began conquering the Swamp Rabbit Trail.
First journey to the trail
On Nov. 13, almost two months after their first journey to the trail, they finally ventured to the final part of the trail they had not yet visited, which is the Cleveland Street section.
“I got to the point yesterday and said, ‘No, we’re doing it. We’re doing it today,’” Hart says.
She was a bit intimidated by the hills in the beginning, but each time she thought about going back, she pushed forward. She was motivated to get to the end, for herself and for her daughter.
“I want people to know that people with different abilities might not be able to do things as we do, but that doesn’t mean they can’t,” Hart says. “It just takes a little creativity.”