Linda D. Crabtree
C.M., O.Ont., O.M.C., B.A., LL.D.(hon.)
Born in Ontario, Canada in the early 1940s, I am a wife, aunt, cousin, writer, painter, amateur photographer, and advocate for people with disabilities. I was born with Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease, a progressively debilitating neuromuscular disorder that has affected my life since I was 16 months old. Now 75, genetic testing proved that I have CMT type 2a2 which can be quite severe. I haven’t walked in more than 20 years and live with chronic burning neuropathic pain. I'm also losing the use of my hands.
Not to be stopped by something I can’t control, during my years I have worked in a newspaper library and editorial department, and a photography studio. In 1984 my husband, Ron, and I began a charity, CMT International, that saw us publish 103 CMT Newsletters and work with 2200 families in 24 countries over 18 years.
I have also received many awards and medals including being made a Member of the Order of Canada (1993) and the Order of Ontario (1982) and most recently the David C. Onley Award for Leadership in Accessibility (role model) (2016).
A lifelong learner, I studied art in Montréal for three years and have a bachelor’s degree from Brock University majoring in psychology and was awarded an honorary doctorate from Brock from my work with people with CMT. I have also taken university courses on Universal Design, Visitability, and biometrics and had the privilege of being the accessibility coordinator for a major build at Heartland Forest in Niagara Falls.
Now retired, if you can call it that, my time is divided between writing books and a regular newspaper column, running a website for tourists with disabilities (AccessibleNiagara.com), keeping a blog (CMT and Me at lindacrabtree.wordpress.com), facebook and following discussions regarding medical assistance in dying and marijuana use in Canada. I paint when I need a mental break from my writing and I love taking photos but weakened hands and no grip means that holding a brush and pressing a camera shutter has become difficult.
I guess you might say my motto is to simply keep doing my best at what I love until I can’t. I have had to make many changes in my life to accommodate my CMT but know that all the wonderful people with CMT I’ve met throughout my years have enriched my life considerably. I hope you enjoy this website as it reflects tiny bits of me. Anything more - and there is much more - and you’ll have to read my autobiography. Mar. 25/18