High school graduate with honours. Film school graduate. Published author. Award winner. A 2D and 3D animator on the side when not writing part two of her book trilogy.
Yes, former Vernon resident Jenny Story has come so very far from that day when she was three and her mom, actress Janet Walmsley, was told her daughter had low functioning autism and her future was bleak.
That was nearly a quarter-century ago.
Story, a Clarence Fulton Secondary School Class of 2011 graduate and alumnus of Vancouver Film School, was recently named Autism B.C.’s Self-Advocate of the Year at the association’s virtual 2020 awards gala.
The Self-Advocate of the Year Award goes to an autistic self-advocate who has advanced the well-being of other autistic people in the province.
“I was surprised,” said Story, now 27 and living in Vancouver with her mom. “I’m very happy and humbled to have won it. It feels good to know that I was helping the autism community and sharing a positive light on my life.
Story is an accomplished 2D and 3D animator, though that has taken a bit of a back seat to her writing. She wrote Dysnomia: Outcasts on a Distant Moon which was the first part of a trilogy series released in 2015 to rave reviews and became a Canadian bestseller.
At the same time, Walmsley was writing about life with Jenny in her published book The Autistic Author and Animator – A mother’s view of a daughter’s triumph. Together, the pair were doing book signings, speaking engagements and media interview’s on Story’s journey; how her determination helped overcome hardships and bullying and led to success along with self-advocating for those with autism.
She graduated from Fulton with scholarships and later won a literacy award at the World of Autism Festival.
“Jenny is always telling people to go after their dreams and follow her example,” said Walmsley. “Don’t let them say you can’t because you can.”
While COVID has eliminated a number of chances to advocate and to hang out with her friends outside their Kitsilano residence, Story presses on. She has completed the second book of her trilogy and hopes to release it in the spring, and is also working on an animated video, which she hopes to publish to YouTube in 2021.
With the self-advocate award comes a $1,000 cheque which Story must use to further her autism advocacy.
“I’m planning on either giving the money to another autistic individual who is also going into animation that needs money for school funding or to a single-parent family who has a child with autism,” said Story.
The money remains up for grabs. Story and her mom would like to hear from people in the Okanagan that may need help. More information can be obtained by emailing email@example.com.