Fourth-year UVA student works to make grounds more accessible

Fourth-year UVA student works to make grounds more accessible

CHARLOTTESVILLE, V.A. (WVIR) - A student at the University of Virginia is leading the charge to make grounds more accessible. She isn't letting her own diagnosis stand in the way of making positive change.

“I never really considered myself disabled,” Ashley Heuser, a UVA student, said. “It wasn't until the second semester of my first year that I had very similar symptoms to a stroke.”

Heuser was diagnosed with sporadic hemiplegic migraines - a migraine that can also make the left side of her body numb. Now, she is working to make sure other students can have better access to parking on grounds.

“If an able-bodied person can’t find parking, you know, they might be able to try a different parking lot they might be able to try meters, they can buy a parking pass. We are constantly competing with each other and constantly texting each other to try and find like who’s leaving, where are they leaving from. Can I get to that parking space and is that parking space close enough to where I am?” Heuser said.

Heuser says parking further away and taking a bus can also present challenges. “The bus can be loud sometimes the bus drivers don’t want to lower the ramp for me so I can’t get onto the bus right. Sometimes it’s too cold outside for me to wait - like there are all these reasons that I can’t access the same way able-bodied people can.”

Now, Heuser is president of an organization on grounds called Chronically Ill and Disabled Cavs. On top of working to address these issues, it also serves as a support group.

Heuser worked with the UVA Department of History to put on an event on Monday that focused on disability history, to bring more awareness to the topic.

Copyright 2019 WVIR. All rights reserved.