By Randy Agnew
It is so great that there is this amazing site that can help the millions of people who stutter come together and find support. I am writing this in hopes that I can connect with, or at least help one person along the way. My name is Randy and I am 38 years old, I have battled a stutter since the age of 6. To say that my stuttering has shaped me into the person I am today would be a true understatement. It has taken most of my adult life to realize that if I had not grown up with this “battle,” I most definitely would not be the empathetic, caring, determined person I am today. 
I am writing this today, with hope...compassion... and to offer a helping hand. I only wish I had someone like myself when I was younger to show me that it was going to be okay, I wasn’t alone, and most importantly that life would be better than it was at that time. I went through my childhood feeling very alone, depressed a lot and afraid to try anything new that involved speaking. Like most, or probably all people that stutter, I was teased very badly. I was told I was stupid, that I would never amount to anything and all of the terrible things that come with it. The longer I stuttered, the worse it got and the less things I got involved in. I could not say my name when asked, almost always. I couldn't answer the telephone, read aloud in class, and completely feared any situation that I knew I would stutter (which were most). I had a very loving family. They were determined to do anything that would help me, but I would get frustrated because again, I felt very alone. I didn’t have anyone around me that understood what I was going through and felt I had nowhere to turn. 
If I heard one more person tell me to just “breathe” I was going to snap. If only it was just that easy. Fortunately, I was a very good athlete growing up so I had sports to lean on and focus my attention to. I still say that Junior High should be years that people who stutter should be excluded from, hands down the worst years of my life. There were even times when I thought I would be better off dead, it was that bad. The most ironic part of my stuttering is that I love to talk and am very social, so this has made it frustrating. 
As I got older, I made friends that just accepted me as a stutterer and it really wasn’t a big deal. I was always ashamed of being a stutterer and couldn't even say the word out loud. It wasn’t until I got a bit older that I realized that until I can overcome this or be comfortable in life, I would have to accept my stutter. I went on to college, met my beautiful wife and graduated with a Sociology degree. 
Despite being told I would never be able to, I went into Sales! Fifteen years later, I am STILL in sales :) I have been forced every day for 15 years to face my biggest fear on a daily basis. Like anything else you fear and hit head on, it got better! 
I would be lying if I said it was easy, it has not been. I have had many bad days along the way, but I have had many more great days. My confidence has grown so much, I have managed to keep my stuttering under control most of the time. I have accepted that I will always stutter, but I am in much more control and it doesn't stop me from doing anything. I have 4 amazing kids and a beautiful, loving wife that has been with me for 20 years. I teach my kids every day to be compassionate to everyone, I remind them to be nice to everyone at school and do something nice for someone that looks like they might need it.
Fortunately, I don’t think any of my kids inherited my stutter (knock on wood) but it is good for them to see the struggles people go through that have disabilities and to feel the compassion. They are 4, amazingly empathetic kids and I am proud. I coach competitive soccer, baseball, and am a Sales Manager for a major company ... all things I was told I would never be able to do.
While this is just a nutshell of my experiences, my goal is to reach out to any or all of you and offer hope … and help. I would love the opportunity to speak in front of kids and/or adults that stutter and tell my story. I remember thinking my life would be so difficult and terrible when I grew up, it doesn’t have to be! Don’t be ashamed of your stutter, it is a part of you but it shouldn't define you! I don't know how many people will read this but if I can help just one of you, than I am happy. I would welcome the opportunity to talk to anyone at any time to offer my support. Be good to yourselves and know that you are much more than just a stutterer!!
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From the Summer 2013 Newsletter