How Will You Know Unless You Try?

Dairne Kirton, a Maori woman from New Zealand, was born physically disabled. She was born with only one arm which only  has three digits. Darine also has a condition called Scoliosis which is a curvature of the spine. As a little girl her parents had been informed that she needed to be put in a special needs classroom for children with disabilities. “After nine months I really didn’t like it and I said to Mum, ‘But I can’t think and talk like all the other kids, I’m not intellectually disabled,’ and then Dad was like “Yeah, time for more of a challenge.’ So at the age of six I was at St. Dominick’s Primary School. My schooling experience was mixed. Some kids would tease me and others would be amazed at what I could and couldn’t do,” Dairne said. Despite the challenges, her father continued to encourage her. “My dad would always say to me, ‘Dairne, how will you know unless you try?’ So I have been brought up on that mantra; ‘Unless you are prepared to try something you don’t know what you are capable of.’” This mindset allowed Dairne to challenge herself to participate in sporting events at school and in the community. “That led into trying out netball, trying out softball, getting involved in the community, swimming.”

At the age of seven, her parents separated, and Dairne’s father continued to raise her. Her father was a staunch Hare Krsna and at the age of just sixteen, he encouraged Dairne to marry a man who was eight years her senior. “This man was educated and had a job and he was a good Hare Krsna and a faithful man.” However, an arranged marriage was the furthest thing from Dairne’s mind. She had no desire to marry this man, so she left her father’s home and moved in with her mother. Life became even more challenging for her. “My mum had got involved with a gang member he was in the Black Power movement so it was like one extreme to the next and I was so naïve and just had some really traumatic experiences watching my mum be beaten so badly by her partner and then my sister and I receiving the end of that and being beaten by my step-father and just gang life and what that entailed and then not wanting to go back to Dad because I just couldn’t do that whole Hare Krsna thing.” During such a traumatic time in her life and as a means of coping, Dairne acquired a cocaine habit which made her lose her sense of smell. “I ended up in rehab and met some beautiful people and was told that I needed to create new friends to stay healthy and well. I ended up living in Kaitaia which is at the top of the North Island and that was a really amazing experience. I met beautiful people and got involved in the disability sector. I worked for a company called Parent to Parent where we looked after parents who have children with disabilities.”

When Dairne became pregnant with her first child, because of her disability, her doctors discouraged her from having the baby. “They told me ‘You won’t be able to carry this baby, you’ll lose this baby by 5 months, you should terminate,’…to me it just felt too unbelievable because I had booked to have my tubes tied and I went to my pre-admissions appointment and when I was having my pre-admissions appointment they told me I was pregnant and I just thought…‘Only but God.’” Dairne chose to have her baby and at five months, she nearly lost her daughter—Creation—which made her  question her decision to have her child. Dairne was put on bed rest and during her seventh month of pregnancy she was told that her daughter would also be born disabled and didn’t have fingers nor toes. Dairne shared her experience of having her baby girl, “They told me that little buds had formed but no toes and no fingers and they told me she would come out weighing just under two pounds of butter. But she came out weighing 5lb 6oz, ten fingers and ten toes.” The birth of Creation strengthened Dairne’s testimony that God had confidence in her ability to overcome profound challenges. “I thought, you know, if I hadn’t trusted in God and if I just hadn’t  thought he won’t give me something I can’t bear, I wouldn’t have her. Today she is thirteen. She towers over me, she is so beautiful and stunning and I just think every day, ‘Gosh, I am so blessed’ and I have this beautiful little girl.”

When Creation was seven, Dairne was diagnosed with breast cancer. “I kept thinking, ‘Oh Lord, you just give it to me so hard and so fast!’” she said. A month after her diagnosis, Creation was diagnosed as having dyslexia and dyspraxia—both learning disorders. “She was really struggling at school with her confidence, thinking she was dumb and wondering what the heck was going to happen to Mum.” During her illness, Dairne sent her daughter to stay with her dad Fred because she was afraid to let Creation see the way her illness was affecting her body. However, she had met a woman at the Cancer Society who helped arrange for Creation to come home from Kaitaia and to meet with a child psychologist. “The child psychologist involved really supported Creation to work through all of that and it also helped me to let Creation in and let her put my wigs on and let her do my makeup. After treatments to let her you know, rub my back and get my face cloths. As a mum I wouldn’t wish that on any child, I felt it was just such a huge burden. I was such a huge responsibility, uh, but it did make us close and I did notice her confidence starting to grow.”

Dairne is on the road to recovery, having been three years in remission. She currently sits on the National Board of CCS Disability Action in New Zealand, as the Northern regional rep, and the board currently serves over 5,000 people. Dairne Kirton has also become a life coach, in which she is able to help motivate and inspire others to reach their goals. She performs many tasks ranging from staff training to individual clients to running groups for disabled people, she keeps busy by serving and helping others. “I know God has me right where He needs me at the moment and it’s stretching me and growing me and if I died today I could honestly say I could put my hand on my heart and say I’ve been blessed to be able to support someone else besides myself yep, and that brings me satisfaction.”

Dairne’s story inspires a powerful message: Surrender our will to God and to allow Him to take control of our lives. “As a disabled person, I like to have control at times…I have always found that my biggest blessings come when I am not in control and God is in control,” she said. We are literal spirit sons and daughters of the most powerful being in the universe, which means our potential is limitless. Even when we may think otherwise, Dairne is living proof of that. We need only to align our will with His, and He will lift us up to meet our God-given potential.

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4 thoughts on “How Will You Know Unless You Try?

  1. WOW Thank you Dairne for allowing R.T.T share your amazing story. Yes you are right with GOD NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE.. He will carry you to the top of the mountain if he has to. xxx

  2. Thank you so much Dairne for sharing your special story. Truly you are unique, loved, and miraculous. This is not only inspiring and very touching, but also educational in a way we can learn from real life experiences.

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