Silent Crusader will be available for purchase on the bookstore shortly.
How One Woman's Struggles Changed Many Lives
This book is an intimately personal memoir about a woman, Cindy, born deaf and with multiple other birth defects. Cindy was not expected to survive, yet she endured numerous surgeries and other medical procedures over the years, showing uncommon strength and determination. Now in her fifties, Cindy lives in her own home with supports and enjoys a happy and active life. This story is also about Cindy’s parents, devoted and committed to her and her sister Deb, who was also born with disabilities. Their parents stood toe-to-toe with Cindy against often flawed and intractable systems of support. They fought with and for Cindy to ensure a rewarding life for her and an impactful outcome that to this day benefits other individuals with disabilities. Along the way, author Cheryl Kantak tells of the journey their family took to get Cindy to where she is now. This book recounts setbacks and struggles related to misdiagnoses, educational biases against persons with disabilities, and facilitated communication, a controversial form of communication. Overcoming these and other challenges, Cindy’s strength and her parents’ resolve set pioneering legal precedent and paved the way for others like Cindy. But in the end, this is a story of love and a parents’ belief in their daughter, never wavering in recognizing her strengths and capabilities. It is a story of courage and perseverance. Although Cindy is deaf and has limited communication skills, her life has made a positive impact on the lives of many. She is a crusader even though she has never spoken a word.
After the birth of their second child, Deb, who also has disabilities, Cheryl Kantak left her career as an insurance underwriter to devote herself to their care. She has spent the last fifty years advocating for them as well as others with disabilities. Cheryl has educated herself in the systems that provide supports, for better or worse, for persons with disabilities. She has served on the board of directors of three central New York not-for-profit agencies serving people with disabilities, as well as on numerous committees. In 1995, Cheryl was the recipient of the New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council’s Volunteer of the Year award. Cheryl and Bob, her husband of 55 years, live in central New York, close to both of their daughters. She loves to read and write and also enjoys word games and puzzles. Together, they enjoy spending time in the summer at their cottage in the Finger Lakes.
- Cheryl Kantak