Kaylyn Christopher wrote the following about Amy Boitnott for UVA Today:
When class time is up, Boitnott, who keeps her balance steady by maintaining a sturdy grip on her podium, watches her students file out of the room. Then, she lowers herself onto her scooter and makes her way back to her office to tackle the next task of her day.
Eleven years ago, doctors diagnosed Boitnott with multiple sclerosis, a progressive disease that affects the central nervous system.
“To teach a class is very taxing,” Boitnott said. “My body has to choose: I can either keep myself upright and balanced, or I can talk. It can be exhausting, so I use a scooter to get to and from class because I really can’t walk after I teach.”
“If I fall on the floor, they have to pick me up,” she said. “But it’s OK; we all need help in this world. It doesn’t mean I’m a weak person; I just have a weak body. I have a strong passion and a strong attitude about life, though, and I really hope my daughters and my students have seen that resiliency.”
Boitnott said she began to realize the magnitude of her impact when a student shared an honest confession with her about how she taught him to not pass judgment based on appearance.
“At first, that student thought ‘I got the disabled professor, the one who can’t walk,’” Boitnott said. “But now he knows he got the one who’s passionate about caring for kids. And that’s what I hope I’m remembered for.”
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