“It feels like the day after a car accident.”
That’s how Roy Luther describes cerebral palsy, adding, “Everything hurts.”
But everything hurting hasn’t stopped him from working two jobs, volunteering at another, and graduating from Horry-Georgetown Technical College with a business degree.
Now, the 35-year-old wants to start a support group for other people with disabilities.
“Being disabled isn’t a punishment and it doesn’t mean God is angry or disappointed,” he says. “It means he can show His glory through that disability.”
He wants the support group to be a place where people can talk freely about their situations, get encouragement from other people with similar challenges, and learn about God through Bible study and prayer.
An hour-long meeting at 7 p.m. Fridays at Myrtle Beach Christian Church, 226 Burcale Road in Myrtle Beach is what Luther envisions.
Anyone interested can call the church at 843-236-1121 or Luther at 843-458-2072.
“Able-bodied people can sympathize, but until you’re in a situation with a disability, it’s hard to fully grasp what it’s like,” Luther says.
“We want people to be with people who are like them, their peers, and have a place for community.”
On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, Luther works at the movie theater at Coastal Grand Mall.
He works as an usher, he sells tickets in the box office, and he helps clean up.
“The only thing I can’t do is work in the concession stand because my chair is too small,” he says, adding, “I love the family aspect of my job. I love the people I work with.
On Fridays, he works at Myrtle Beach Christian Church answering the phone.
“If someone calls who’s in trouble, Roy doesn’t just take a message,” says assistant minister Jeff Holden.
“He already knows what they need and what he can do to help them.”
Holden says not too long ago, when he told Luther he was about to do some weed eating, Luther said he wanted to help.
“How many people do you know willing to do yard work in a wheel chair?”
Luther also takes over the occasional Wednesday night or Sunday night preaching at the church.
When time allows, he volunteers at the Surfside Beach fire station where volunteer captain Marty Morris says, “He does things you wouldn’t believe.
“He keeps our antique fire truck clean and waxed and goes through the same training all the other volunteers go through.
“He helps with the administrative side, helping log in the volunteers’ training time, and he’s phenomenal.
“To come in here, in his situation with cerebral palsy, doing what he does is an inspiration to everyone here.”
Luther also talks to children on field trips at the fire station, helping them learn their addresses and how to dial 9-1-1.
Cerebral palsy, Luther explains, is a birth defect.
“When people straighten their arm, certain muscles work, and when they retract their arm, other muscles work. With cerebral palsy,” he explains, “the brain doesn’t differentiate between the muscles, so the brain gets mixed signals and they all fire at one time.”
The everyday things most people don’t think about, “like opening a bottle of Coca-Cola or getting dressed can be challenging, and an eight-hour work day requires a lot of energy.
“But with God,” Luther says, “nothing is impossible.
Quoting the Scripture in Matthew 19:26 that “with God all things are possible,” Luther says that’ll be the theme of the support group he’s starting.
That is also the driving force in Luther’s life and what helped him get his business degree from Horry-Georgetown Technical College in 2016.
“That took a lot of studying and it was a big undertaking,” he says.
Originally from Pennsylvania, Luther and his mother, Kathy Brichmann, moved to the area in 2005 for warmer weather.
When he’s not working, he enjoys faith-based movies and Bible study.
“Here’s a guy who could sit home if he wanted to, but he wants to work,” says Dan Banks, senior pastor at the church.
“When people tell Roy they can’t find a job, he says, ‘Liar, liar, pants on fire.’
“When I met him, I fell in love with him,” Banks says. “He’s my hero.”