At age 30, in the first decade of her humanitarian career with the United Nations, Cara was diagnosed with a rare muscle wasting disease (Hereditary Inclusion Body Myopathy – HIBM) that leads to quadriplegia, a devastating condition for which there is no treatment or cure.
Diversity, Inclusion, Mental Health, Motivational/Inspirational, Disability, Child Rights, Suicide
At age 30, in the first decade of her humanitarian career with the United Nations, Cara was diagnosed with a rare muscle wasting disease that leads to quadriplegia, a devastating condition for which there is no treatment or cure. Rather than letting it quiet her, Cara who is also a woman of color and of a religious minority family, set off even bolder, proud to be a part of human diversity, to break down the endless barriers she now faces. In her ten years working around the world with United Nations in Ecuador, Panama, China, Angola, Madagascar, Mozambique, Thailand, Haiti, Cara was the first person with a severe physical impairment to serve in a UNICEF Emergency Operation when stationed in Haiti for two years after the devastating 2010 earthquake that killed more than 500,000 people and displaced 1.3 million Haitians. Video: https://www.princessrising.com/?p=89
In an industry where women with disabilities are not only underrepresented in making movies, but also starring in them, Cara is presently producing a feature documentary film about her life.
Cara has helped put a face on disability and teach companies what a lost business opportunity it is not to include people with disabilities, the largest minority in the USA, accounting for 25% of the population, according to the CDC (2018).
MSNBC’s Break Glass series featured Cara in a short film called, With muscles wasting, fighting the Stigma of Disability: https://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/watch/fighting-the-stigma-of-disability-421435971858?v=raila
AWARDS & RECOGNITION
2018 Women Make a Mark Honoree, Atlanta Magazine.
Atlanta Magazine recognizes those among us who are doing extraordinary work in our community to make us and our city better, are committed to their professions and their community. They exhibit tireless dedication, strong leadership and impassioned goodwill.
2018 Outstanding Voice Diversity & Inclusion, Atlanta Business Chronicle
Honors outspoken individuals who are going above and beyond to bolster equality across all areas.
2018 Canada’s Champion of Diversity, Inclusion and Empowerment of Women & Girls, Government of Canada, Canadian Consulate General in Atlanta for the S.E. USA
For embodying the Government of Canada’s commitment to reducing barriers and increasing opportunities for people with disabilities, to ensure their full participation in society.
2015 Porsche Driving Force Award,
Porsche North America in cooperation with the National Center for Civil and Human Rights recognizes women who exemplify the spirit of activism and community engagement at the local and/ or global level.
2015 Adult Equestrian of the Year, PATH International (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship)
Recognizing someone who symbolizes our celebration of ability, optimism, diversity and to share a love of equines.
2010 Global Patient Advocate, Neuromuscular Disease Foundation
For her tireless efforts to raise money to fund a cure for HIBM and for being a voice advocating for patients suffering from one of the most rare diseases in the world, with only 1,000 known patients worldwide.
- Travelers Insurance
- UNICEF (Annual Meeting, Humanitarian Awards, Speaker Series, Chicago Gala, etc)
- National Center for Civil and Human Rights
- Atlanta Hawks, NBA, Courageous Conversations
- Boehringer Ingelheim
- Auburn University Diversity Promising Practices Conference
- University of Alabama, Birmingham Human Rights Institute Disability Rights Symposium
- Georgia Tech University, Women’s Leadership Conference
- Georgia State University
- Berry College
- Holy Innocents Episcopal School
- Charles R. Drew Charter School
- Re:imagine/ATL, Disruptive Dialogues
- No Barriers Summit
- World Micro and Macro Economic Investment Forum
- PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) International
- SMILE, Toronto, Canada
- Shafallah Forum on Disabilities & Emergencies, Doha, Qatar
- Global Pediatric Conference, Al Jalila Foundation, Dubai, UAE
To build a lasting legacy to make a difference in the world Cara, in April 2018, traveled 200 miles through Grand Canyon, 4 days on horseback ride, on a wild Mustang no less, and another 8 days on raft through one of the most remote places in the world to create the documentary film “HIBM: Her Inescapable Brave Mission”.
The Driving Force Award is presented by Porsche of North America in collaboration with the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, to recognize women who exemplify the spirit of activism and community engagement at the local and/ or global level.
In today’s conversation, we dive into Cara’s extraordinary life to date. We explore how being of service became her driving purpose, and how her condition at once changed everything, but also changed nothing. And we talk about the critical difference between struggle and suffering, and how choice dances between the two.
After 13 years working for the United Nations and UNICEF as a spokesperson for children with disabilities in nine countries, Cara Elizabeth Yar Khan was forced to leave the field due to the deterioration of her rare and progressive muscle wasting disease HIBM. Watch Cara tell her story in this MSNBC feature.