Esther Klang
TBI Ambassador
Accessibility Tester, Product Tester, Disability Advocate
Brooklyn, NY
Fun Facts

Esther will appear shy and reserved when you first meet her, but once you get to know her you will see that she has a great deal of unique lived experiences and perspectives to share and is not afraid to share her true opinions on various different topics including but not limited to; politics, social issues, disability awareness, and physical and digital accessibility. Her main passion in life is to help other disabled people gain access to technology no matter what their functional abilities are as she understands how lonely and isolating it can be when you are unable to access technology. Esther also loves testing new products, websites, and apps to make sure they are accessible to assistive technology users, especially if they are disability related. She also enjoys answering surveys, writing on, and scrolling through social media, and reading about disability-related products.

Esther’s Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Journey

In 2006, at the age of 10, Esther had a brain stem tumor removed leading to her journey with TBI/SCI for the past 18 years. Esther is a 29-year-old woman who is a quadriplegic and has had a tracheostomy and she now uses a ventilator at night, has shallow breathing, and vocal paralysis which makes oral communication difficult. She has found that many people associate her trouble with communication as a mental impairment causing some people to treat her like a child, a prejudice that exists even within her own family.

She has found support by surrounding herself with people who understand her, both in person and by being a part of online communities. It is a message she shares with other wheelchair users, as she has found it a sure-fire way to prevent life from becoming lonely. Additionally, she has come to have patience with herself and with other people, adopting the mentality that not everything has to be perfect, but most importantly that one should be educated about their injury and the secondary conditions associated with it.

Esther understands that having the best information and being educated on the pertinent medical conditions you may develop at different stages of your life will make you feel more empowered and in control of your life. This knowledge can be the difference between life and death, and so she actively shares helpful resources like those composed by MSKTC with others in the wheelchair user community.

What does Esther think of the quality, usefulness, and user-friendliness of the MSKTC resources?

Esther learned about MSKTC and their amazing resources when she was introduced to the United Spinal Association in the fall of 2021, 15 years after her injury. She found MSKTC’s resources extremely helpful as they clarified many questions and helped her understand many of her feelings. She has come to believe that rehabilitation centers and their therapists have a duty to inform and educate all their patients and family members about the helpful resources from MSKTC. Esther particularly values how the MSKTC resources can be easily shared across all her social media pages.

Why does Esther want to be an MSKTC ambassador?

Esther wants to be a TBI/SCI ambassador for MSKTC because wants to become more open, transparent, confident, and accepting of her disability. She believes that through her story and shared experience, she may help others with disabilities from experiencing the loneliness, isolation, and unnecessary misunderstandings and arguments that she did.

What has Esther done as an MSKTC ambassador?

Esther shares MSKTC resources on all of her social media pages and in many Facebook groups pertaining to people with TBI and SCI. She is in the process of developing resources on her website and blog. When other wheelchair users in her community reach out to her with questions and advice, the MSKTC resources are an easy source that she can point them to.