Leaving the comfort zone and doing things people don't expect from her, let alone trust her to be able to do – Anja Hebel loves to go beyond boundaries. The born fighter can't be knocked down by anything. Why invisible disabilities and chronic illnesses are close to her heart and what she thinks about stereotyped thinking, she tells us on REHACARE.com.
Name: Anja Hebel Age: 39 City: Amsterdam, The Netherlands Occupation: active "retiree" Impairment: Multiple Sclerosis (diagnosis May 2012)
Anja Hebel: My dog Ruby, my friends and stand-up comedy.
What have you always been wanting to do and why have you never done this so far?
Anja Hebel: I basically try to do everything I really want to do and love to go beyond my comfort zone, to face my fears. Adventure is my best medicine. Next I would like to hike the "W Trek" in Patagonia.
Which person has influenced you most? And why?
Anja Hebel: There is actually no single person, I am inspired almost daily by one or more people. But if I had to commit myself, it would be my mum, because she taught me never to give up hope. But of course also my dad from whom I have my willingness. Without my stubborn head I wouldn't be where I am today.
You have the chance to become the Commissioner for the Disabled. What would you do first?
Anja Hebel: Since I travel a lot, everything revolves around the topic of mobility. Here in Holland I don't have a car but a bicycle, I travel further distances by train and bus. As the first official act, I would therefore have all public means of transport converted so that no one is dependent on their own car any more and one can also travel "spontaneously" despite restrictions.
Since Anja Hebel loves adventure, she is always looking for new challenges – especially if others don't think she is able to overcome them.
What is especially near and dear to you?
Anja Hebel: To encourage others and to show that one can enjoy life to the fullest despite a chronic illness.
I would like to be...
Anja Hebel: ...understood. MS is a disease with a thousand faces and I am one of them. I don't look sick, do a lot of sports, never sit still – many people can't understand that because they have a different picture of MS and my symptoms are invisible.
Which question would you like answered the most?
Anja Hebel: Can my dog understand me?
What I finally want to say...
Anja Hebel: I wish we could all see ourselves more often without "labels", as pure humans and not put a disease/disability in between.