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Rachel Belle

A Local Singer's New Book Teaches Kids About Life in a Wheelchair

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(Photo courtesy of Faith Ecklund) | Zoom
Faith Ecklund is a Nashville based singer/songwriter from Tacoma and her new song, "That's How We Roll," is about the fact that she gets around in a wheelchair.

"In 1997 I was in a car accident in Gig Harbor, Washington. I flew from a car and broke my neck on the way out. I woke up on the side of the road and was laying there with an EMT who was shaking me awake and asking me, 'Can you feel anything? Are you hurt?' I said, 'I can't feel anything. There's nothing going on.' I was immediately paralyzed."

Faith is a quadriplegic, but after a lot of physical therapy she is lucky to be able to move her arms, hands and back. About two and a half years ago a good friend, who had a dad who used a wheelchair, came to her with an idea.

"Her dad had MS and he passed away about seven years ago. She had this burning in her heart to write a book about people in wheelchairs for her kids. So her kids would understand that this is not weird. It's normal, it's just somebody else's normal."

So they got to work, and two and a half years later Our Friends in Chairs with Wheels was just released. Faith says the book fills a very important niche.

"There's not a whole lot of stuff out there that teaches kids about this kind of stuff. We did our research and there's, like, nothing. I get questions all the time or I get, obviously, stared at from kids because they want to know! They're inquisitive. They're like, 'What the heck happened to her?' So I wanted to teach them that it's okay to ask questions. Not everybody is as open. But for me, where I'm at, I want them to ask questions so that they don't see another person and think, 'That's weird.'"

The book features illustrations of real people in wheelchairs, like Faith, her friend's dad and a little wiener dog who has wheels instead of hind legs.

"The real dog, Wescott, was in an accident. He got hit by a car. His hind legs are kind of strapped up and he walks on his front paws and he has a wheelchair on his back. That happens to [animals] too and they can get around with the use of a chair."

Until now, singing has been Faith's saving grace.

"Oh my word, I think it's the only thing that's kept me together. I love it and it's helped me breathe, literally. Because at first I had a really hard time with my breathing and singing helps all of those muscles kind of come back to life and remember, oh yeah, this is what I'm supposed to do."

But now she can touch people in a new way.

"I saw a little boy yesterday at the mall and he was obviously disabled and so I gave him a book. He said, 'This is so cool, this is so awesome.' His mom was like, 'There's nothing like this out there that shows that it's not weird that he's walking with a cane.'"

Click here to get a copy of Faith's book, that comes with a free download of her new song.

Rachel Belle, Ron and Don Show Reporter
Rachel Belle is a feature contributor and personality on The Ron & Don Show on KIRO Radio (weekdays 3-7pm), and host of Ring My Belle Weekends (Sundays at 3pm).
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Ring My Belle on KIRO Radio
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Who is Rachel Belle?
Rachel Belle's "Ring My Belle" segment airs Monday-Friday on The Ron & Don Show at 4:37pm and 6:37pm. You can hear "Ring My Belle Weekends" Saturdays at 5:00pm Sundays at 3:00pm. Rachel is a northern California native who loves anything and everything culinary, playing Scrabble, petting cats and performing improv.

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