This article originally appeared in the Summer 2022 issue of On The Level.
The onset of a vestibular disorder is often a life-changing event. Suddenly you are faced with having to learn about your new condition and adapt to a new normal.
This was true for David Morrill after a stroke left him with a brain injury, causing chronic vertigo and dizziness. At 52-years old, having just started a new job, he felt defeated. “I couldn’t work outside the home anymore. I couldn’t do a lot of things. It was as if all the plans we’d made and all the goals we’d set were wiped away.”
That is why when David found VeDA he was relieved to learn that the resources he needed were there for him. In addition to the information he found at VeDA, he also found a community. “I have gained a new family.”
From that point on, David dedicated his life to serving the vestibular community as an advocate, community organizer, and support group leader. “Showing people what I went through, educating people, and talking about the different challenges of everyday living that I experienced helped other people over their hill.”
David is a shining example of the impact one person can have by making sure that resources and community are available to people struggling with vestibular dysfunction.
Among the countless lives he has touched, here are some of the people David has helped along their vestibular journeys:
“Some people are born to rally, uplift and support others and David is one of those people. Through my experience working with David on the Life Rebalanced Chronicles, it became clear that not only does David successfully advocate for others, but in turn, the work feeds his soul. He spoke many times throughout the series about his desire to “give back” and how if he can reach just one person and make them feel more resourced and less alone, then he’s done his job. Well David, I am certain you’ve succeeded in your mission ten-fold – the lives you’ve touched are like ripples reaching out to the far ends of the planet. You’ve truly used your own adversity to make this world a better place.”
“As a VeDA Ambassador and member of the Patient Education Committee, I have worked alongside David Morrill for many years. Without question, David is one of the most dedicated advocates for vestibular patients that I know. He has done so much to raise awareness for VeDA, vestibular disorders in general, and for stroke patients suffering from difficult vestibular symptoms. Strokes are very common, but the vestibular connection is not always well known. David has done a lot of hard work to change that and provided support for countless sufferers along the way. From presenting at various conferences and events, to coordinating the ambassador team, and helping the community directly in the support group, David has been a real leader in the vestibular community!”
Elizabeth (Liz) Schneider
“I have had the pleasure of working with David Morrill as an administrator in his Facebook group called, Vestibular Disorders Support Group. It is the largest vestibular support group on Facebook with over 19,000 members worldwide and growing daily. David always makes sure that all members’ concerns are addressed. Anytime there is support to be given, David will go the extra mile and help a member of the group out. It’s such a pleasure working with him. Please keep in mind that this is not a typical Facebook group. This is a group where people come because they are in urgent need for support to help with their life altering vestibular disorder. David always makes sure the group is run well and is always there to lend a hand!”
“I first became a vestibular patient six years ago. About a year into [my vestibular journey] I was not sure what to do. I was feeling kind of sorry for myself, like, “Oh my god, my life is never going to be the same.” I was at a real low point. [That’s when] I met David through the Facebook support group. [He] helped me understand that it was okay to mourn for my past life, that it may come back but it may not, and if it doesn’t then it’s okay to mourn that loss and to forge ahead. Since then my vestibular symptoms come and go but it doesn’t upset me the way it used to. It was a real turning point for me.
“I think David is very brave and very giving. He’s a good listener, he understands, he doesn’t judge, he’s very supportive and he’s always available to help. That’s how he is, he’s been a real bright spot. It is wonderful that he has taken what is a disability and turned it into something positive. My life and vestibular journey has been made easier by knowing David.
“David really wants us to be advocates for ourselves and to learn as much as we can about our disorder, and then to educate the people around us.”
You can read more about David’s story at vestibular.org/Davids-Story