Brady Murray
May 06, 2024

Being Grateful for the Glass

I recently had the opportunity to interview Andrew Lund on the podcast. Andrew is a dad, caregiver, and early childhood educator. He's also an unstoppable disability advocate who shares his story on social media to spread the light and joy of raising a loved one with a disability. 

Eight years ago, Andrew and his wife Christie welcomed their daughter Hadley, who was born with a rare mutation called Pfeiffer syndrome that impacts the sutures of her skull. Despite the challenges, the Lunds have taken this experience as an opportunity to inspire others. Here’s their story.


Hadley's Worth Goes Beyond Productivity  


Hadley is non-verbal and requires total care from her parents and caregivers for almost all her needs. However, Andrew emphasizes that despite her disability, Hadley lives a fulfilling life. As he says, "her worth as a human being is independent of her productivity."  

He explains that while her life may look different, Hadley still experiences love and happiness. There is light in her eyes when she responds to loved ones. Though she communicates non-verbally, it's clear she is still very much present and having a full life experience.

Andrew stresses the importance of reframing expectations and perspectives when it comes to disability. Hadley wasn't born "sick" - this is simply the way she was made. He wants people to understand that you can live a joyful, meaningful life even with a significant disability. The trick is focusing on ability rather than inability. For Hadley, there is a lot that she is unable to do on her own. However, those limitations do not define her. She uses her own special talents and abilities to bring joy and light to people’s lives, ultimately changing them for the better.


Finding Beauty and Purpose in the Challenge


Andrew is candid that raising a child with complex medical needs is profoundly difficult. When Hadley was first diagnosed prenatally, it was frightening and unsettling for him and his wife. They've had to lean on each other during the hardest times.

However, Andrew quickly understood that with great challenges come great rewards. Hadley has enriched his life in unbelievable ways. She's helped him appreciate every single moment with his children rather than taking things for granted. He also believes being Hadley's caregiver has made him a more resilient, confident, reflective, and purpose-driven person and father.  

Additionally, Hadley's special ability has brought incredible people into their lives, expanding their world with lifelong friendships. This sense of community and connection is one of the most beautiful parts of the disability journey.

So, while Andrew acknowledges the pain and fear that comes with having a medically fragile child, he chooses to focus on the love, light, and sense of meaning Hadley has brought their family. The glass may look half-empty to some, but he is profoundly grateful for everything it contains.


Hope for the Future Through Technology  


Given her medical complexity, Andrew fears Hadley likely won't outlive him. However, he immerses himself in the present, treasuring his time with her. He also finds hope in the continuing advances in assistive technology for those with disabilities.

Recently, Hadley has begun using eye gaze communication technology, which allows her to make selections on a screen just by looking at different icons. She's also utilizing devices that let her communicate through simple gestures. 

While early in the process, Andrew has faith that this technology will eventually give Hadley much more independence and a gateway to actively express her personality, wants, and needs. Bit by bit, they are broadening her world and helping her be as engaged as possible.

Though the future is uncertain, technology gives Andrew reason to hope Hadley may continue gaining abilities to communicate and participate in life in meaningful ways. Each new milestone, however small, is cause for celebration.

Andrew Lund's story leaves me profoundly inspired to be grateful for all life has given me, especially my loved ones. It's a reminder not to take a single moment for granted but to open our eyes wider to the beauty and meaning in what may appear as imperfections. 

I encourage you to reflect on what it is you may be taking for granted in your own glass. How can you cultivate more gratitude for the amazing people in your life? Consider reaching out to tell your loved ones what they mean to you. 

Life is unpredictable, and relationships are precious. Let's follow Andrew's lead in cherishing each moment we have with one another, being grateful for this gift of life in all its beauty and imperfection. Let's appreciate the glass for all that it holds rather than wasting time trying to figure out if it is empty or full. By opening our eyes to meaning in the challenges on our path, we can unlock untold reservoirs of hope, love, and connection that make this shared journey worthwhile.


Thank you for supporting Conquering Your Clownfish. If you are interested in learning more about us and what we do, please visit our website at ConqueringYourClownfish.com. 

If you would like to learn more about Andrew and Hadley’s journey, please visit their Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/trulyhadley/

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