Welcome everyone. My name is Alexis Folk and, and today I’m proud to be hosting Marina Pasqua on the show. Marina has a brother named Marco who lives with Cerebral palsy Marina and her brother have gone to an inclusive camp for people of all abilities called Easter seals camp. Marina was a former actress and currently works in the hotel customer service department in Vancouver, BC today.
I welcome and invite Marina to share her lessons and experiences about growing up with siblings with Cere pal. Hello, and welcome to my Meeting Meeting People, podcast marina.
Hi, thank you so much for having me. I’m really honored to be on your show. I’m honored to have you on my show. Tell us a little bit aboutYour passion and yourself please. Okay. Sure. Uh, well I was born in Burnaby BC and grew up in Surry with my brother, Marco and I now live, um, in Vancouver for the past 10 years with my husband, John Paul. And we just had a little baby boy. Um, his name is Georgio and he just turned one years old. We had a huge birthday party for him.
It was so much.
Um, and we’re really big outdoor enthusiasts. You know, we live very near the beach here in Vancouver, so we’re always there any chance that we get and we’re actually bringing Georgio camping for the first time. In two days, I am so excited. Um, we’re gonna go to a spot. Very near hope. It’s about two hours away and, uh, we’re gonna go with some family and some cousins of Georgia’s and I’m just so excited.It’s gonna be a lot of fun to really immerse Georgia in
outdoor living and have fun. This sounds like a cool experience. Experience. How do you feel your experience as an actress has helped you in your career now in being in the customer service hotel industry? Yeah, I feel Ooh. Being an actress has really helped me in, um, the guest service area.
So being an actress can be difficult. Right. You have to really have a thick skin. Um, you can’t take things too personally, as long as you’re putting your training in, you know, you’re going to your classes. Um, because unfortunately a lot of times it can come down to, you know, your look, um, you, you can be super talented.
Um, there’s just so many different things at play. Um, So I’ve gotten rejected a lot. I’ve gotten like 1000 no’s before you get that one. Yes. We’d love to use you in our movie. Um, so, you know, you just roll with it. And, um, I think that relates to guest service a lot because. I work in the luxury hotel business.
So I work at a five star hotel. So, um, you know, the guests that are coming into the hotel really expect the best of the best, you know, the best food, the cleanest room, the. The best entertainment. And there’s so many factors that play there and, you know, there’s a lot of things out of our control and sometimes, you know, things don’t always go well and I’ve had to diffuse many situations um, and again, like how it relates to acting.
I, I can’t take it too personally. Um, yeah, you have to have a, a, a thick skin to work in customer service. probably. That’s very true. Like for your brother, Marco, it was Redon and Rick Hanson who inspired him to pursue his public speaking career. I’m curious, is there someone you look up to in your life?
Well, I can tell you about it. The moment in which I really realized I wanted to pursue acting as a full-time career. And that was when I got to be involved in a movie with Morgan Freeman, who is one of the biggest stars of our time. Really. Um, when I was in high school, I started acting more and I became involved by doing a lot more, um, work on set by doing stand in work and photo doubling work.And what photo doubling is, is essentially. Every part in the movie in which, you know, you don’t see, um, the main actor’s face, that’s where I would come in. So in this movie, when I was about 17 years old, I was photo doubling for, I think she was about 11 years old. I was a very petite person. And, um, but in the movie, yes, Um, so all the over the. Thoughts when the camera is like focused on the main star, you know, that would be my shoulder or the back of my head. And so at the end of the movie, um, in the movie, basically this little girl goes missing and Morgan Freeman plays a detective. Um, and he finds her. And, and I remember being in this barn, um, for the movie.
And getting to do the actual scene with Morgan Freeman and just looking in his eyes and he made it so easy. Like he transformed me into that scared, lost little girl. And it was an epic moment. I’ll never forget. And it was kind of, yeah, it was the moment when I was like, oh wow, this is so cool. I want to do this.Awesome. I learned if you just follow your dreams, life will come together for you. You got it. Now we’ll be talking about how life goes and growing up with a sibling who has a diverse challenge of living with Cerebral Palsy.
Tell us about
the dynamics of, of growing up around a family member who lives with Cerebral Palsy
Yeah, well, my childhood with my brother and my family, you know, I would consider. Pretty normal. Um, I am Marco’s older sister by two and a half years. And I, I think that I was pretty, you know, pretty average, you know, normal, older sister, what they would do to help, you know, be a role model to their younger brother.
Um, obviously Marco needed a little bit more attention and I needed to help get ’em things, you know, more often. Um, but we had really positive parents and, you know, they were, they got Marco involved in a lot of different activities, a lot of sports. And therefore I really got to tag along with him everywhere.
Um, you know, we grew up in the eighties and early nineties, so. Things like, like the world, um, WWE wrestling was really popular. Um, all those eighties action movie stars like Jean Claude, van dam, Arnold sports, Nagar Sylvester Stallone. We really looked up to those guys like teenage ninja turtles. We were always like wrestling and kind of roughhousing and fighting each other.
I always, really, it made a point to just treat Marco like anyone else, like he was. He almost demanded that. And without even necessarily being like, treat me like everyone else, you know, it was, um, really easy to do. Um, but I did help him out a lot. I was always there and we got to go to a lot of different, you know, so many special events like, um, I remember every weekend we would go.
He would go horseback, riding at the Pacific riding for the disabled to help with his therapy and just getting to be around the horses, feeding the horses. These are amazing memories that I have, um, you know, swimming lessons he got to go to. And I always got to go in the pool with him, riding the bus to school every day.
Um, The 24 hour relay for raising money for kids with disabilities, you know, um, Timmy’s Christmas telethon when he got to be Timmy, the spokesperson a couple years in a row, in some ways like he was almost treated like a mini celebrity. So, uh, I almost felt like his, his bodyguard in a way, you know, I was just always with him, not that he needed a bodyguard, but we’ll just use that term.Cuz I like that term. I was his bodyguard. Um, , you know, so many different things, not to mention, going to Disneyland. He got to make a wish through the sunshine foundation to go to Disneyland. That was amazing. Like what kid doesn’t wanna go to Disneyland? So for the most part, growing up with Marco, um, it was, it was really a lot of.That sounds like my childhood. Really a lot of fun. Really adorable.
What have you learned from growing up with a family member who lives with cerebral palsy? What have I learned? Wow, well really? What haven’t I learned? Um, You know, growing up with Marco really made me the person that I am today, but I would say to never underestimate a person with a disability, you know, just because you see someone that uses a wheelchair or someone with a disadvantage or what you perceive as a disadvantage.
Um, it’s certainly not the case. Uh, everyone deserves to be treated equally and given a fair chance and Marco was always so independent. Really, he did everything before me, his older sister, he moved out of the family home before me. He graduated from post-secondary before me. He got married before me. He had a baby before me, only by three months, but he did still do that before me but you know, he was always, um, really a go-getter.
Um, but there is also a story just from a couple of, uh, weeks ago that I’d like to talk about. I think another thing that I’ve learned from growing up, uh, with a family member with Cerebral Palsy is that, you know, they don’t wanna be treated any differently and they don’t wanna feel sorry for, um, that we were walking in Rocky point park, uh, the two weeks ago.
And it was a beautiful day and we were just down by the water. And this man came up to us and, and went right up to Marco and just said, um, Hey, do you mind if I pray for your legs? And Marco very politely said, oh, well, thank you. But you know, that’s not necessary. And the man felt the need to explain, well, I’m a pastor and I just, I prayed for people in the past and it’s, and it seems to have helped.
And Marco again said, you know, thank you very much, but , that’s all right. You know, and I know this man probably meant well, but you know, just by, you know, disability does not equal disadvantage and, you know, This man didn’t know anything about Marco’s life or, or why, you know, he uses a wheelchair. And I think that, yeah, that was just a really, it happens to Marco a lot, you know, very often as well, that that people will just come up to him and, and he doesn’t wanna be, he doesn’t feel, you know, don’t feel sorry for him because he is extremely happy.He’s accomplished so much in his life and continues to do so. And, um, he really sees his disability as a gift. Thanks Marita. That is the exact message I wanna get across to people today. You did a great job. Oh, wonderful. Thank you.
Well, it’s the truth. Yeah. It’s the authentic truth. I’m sure there were some teaching lessons from your brother about the barriers we as people with inclusive needs faced.
Can you please tell us about this experience? Sure. Well, Marco has really made his business, uh, which is called meaningful access consulting. So he’s made his business about turning complex accessibility challenges into barrier free solutions. Um, for example, like the building that I live in, it’s quite old, it was built, I think, in the 1960s.
And anytime Marco comes over to visit me, like he needs help opening the front door. It’s very heavy and there is. No automatic door opener, which blows my mind. It’s just crazy. And, you know, in today’s day and age that, um, that places aren’t more accessible just to get into the front door. So I’ve actually, since.Talk to the strata, of the building. And we’re gonna be putting some things in place to have an automatic door opener here. Um, but that’s what Marco does. He goes to businesses and helps people and, and makes things more accessible because there are so many barriers. And I’m realizing that too, now that I take my son Georgio out for walks in his stroller, like, it’s just amazing to me, how many places, um, are still not accessible.
Right? Yeah. So true. I mean, I’m probably the only kid in my school that has a disability and I’ve done way more than the whole disability people have in the past. Yeah. I’m sure you’ve shed some light on a lot of, yeah.
One time. I interviewed Easter seals, BC inclusive camps for people with disabilities and their siblings. And I heard you went to the Easter seals, BC sibling camp. Once. Can you tell us about your experience? Oh, yeah, I actually, I went to that summer camp with Marco for several years, at least three or four years.It was so much fun. Um, Yeah. My experience at camp was amazing. Like what, what kid doesn’t wanna go to summer camp? Um, you know, essentially we all just wanna have fun and be included. And what I love about Easterseals camp Squamish was, you know, it takes down all the barriers and just lets kids be kids.Um, I have made friendships that I still have 30 years later from camp. Um, just seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces, um, you know, Alice lake day, getting to go canoeing, just, you know, the pranks, the pranks that were pulled were so much fun. Um, I really, really loved, uh, going to camp Squamish. I hear that camp Squamish is a pretty good place for people with disabilities, which is needed in BC.Did, did you find having the experience in going to inclusive camps helpful for times in assisting Marco?
Yes, I did. I really looked up to the camp counselors. Um, they really helped to show me ways that I could help Marco to reach his full potential. And I think it was also at the camp where I realized my love for working with children. You know, I was, uh, while I was acting, I was a nanny for 20 years and. I just love working with children.
Um, just that youthful energy. They’ve always, you know, it’s just, you have no choice, but to have fun and, you know, play it’s all about play. And I think going to camp in Squamish really, um, is probably where I first realized that, oh, I just, I love working with children. Me too. You see the potential in it? You just look at them and go, uh, that was me when I was younger.exactly. I still, I still try to do that to this day. I still try to be, um, you know, as fun and playful as I can. And now that I have Giorgio, Ugh, it’s awesome. We just get to play and hang out all day. It’s great. . I’m curious if you had any words of wisdom to anyone with diverse abilities and their families, what would you say?
Well, I would say the sky’s the limit. You know, I know what you are capable of. So don’t ever feel that you have to prove anything to anyone, just be your authentic self. Everyone goes through challenges. We all have tough days and you’re not alone. You know, I think if you, if you are having a difficulty, it is important to talk to someone and tell them how you’re feeling, you know, reach out to a counselor, a friend, um, you know, a teacher, someone that you really trust and we’re all here for each other.
Yes. Very important. Have your authentic support system and utilize your best networks.
What do you think makes a mighty person? What makes a mighty person? Well, I think being brave and. You know, facing challenges head on because it is in those challenging times when we do the most growing, you know, never be afraid to ask for help when you need it and also helping others where you can, even if it’s just a really small thing, because, you know, often it’s those, you know, those really small changes that make the biggest impact.
True story. Even just giving someone a hug when you see them having a bad day makes the day so much better. I love that. I love hugs. Yes. yes. With appreciation marina, I would like to thank you for coming on my show today as a guest to share your personal life experience, growing up with a person with a diverse need.
Thank you marina. Thank you so much, Alexis. I had so much fun. I hope to talk to you again soon. Bye-bye. I had, I had so much fun too. take care. Take care.