“10 years ago while I was living back East, I was managing a retirement home. We were having trouble with one of the roof top air conditioning units so I climbed up on the roof to take a look. At the time I weighed about 300 pounds. Somehow I lost my balance and fell. I landed on my feet but immediately felt a tingling in my legs. I thought that it had something to do with my weight so I didn’t have it checked out by a doctor. Over the next week it continued to get worse. When I finally went in and got it checked, it was to late. I had done irreparable damage to my spine.”
“People treat me differently. They treat me like I can’t take care of myself. The fact is everyone has their own unique challenges. I decided a long time ago that I was not going to allow this to stop me from living a full life. When I chose to deal with my realty, it allowed me to focus on the future. Because of that, I live a much richer life now then I did before my accident. I wouldn’t change a thing. This has taught me to not take things for granted and to let go of all of my pride and just focus on being happy in the moment. I’m truly happier now than I was before the accident.”
“I have an 18 year old daughter. I don’t want her to see me as a victim. I want her to see me as just a normal person. I hope that someday that example will help her in a time when she needs to be tough.”
“Seven weeks before my wife was supposed to give birth, Tommy stopped moving. We rushed to the hospital hoping for the best. The doctors were forced to do a C section. Tommy survived but his life’s struggle was only beginning. He has cerebral palsy and he is the most caring, loving person I have ever known. He has taught me so much. Before he was born I was a self-absorbed, selfish jerk. He has been a blessing in my life everyday since”.
“He also has autism, is almost entirely blind, confined to this wheelchair and wakes up every morning smiling. He is my beautiful Tommy Boy”.
“He loves to feel the sun on his face so we take every chance we get to come to the park”.
“”I’m not handicapped, I’m just different. Many people with the same challenges I have let that challenge define their lives. My mom always told me that everybody is unique and different, my difference is just physically noticeable. I can do anything that anybody else can do, I just have to do it a little differently”.
“I think the key to being happy is to be grateful. I choose to be grateful and happy every morning I wake up. Today is a new day, a new adventure, a new chance to make something of myself”.
“I absolutely love what I do. I’m a salesperson at the Microsoft store. I get to meet and help new people everyday. I also help run my mom and dad’s food truck. We owned a small restaurant in Iowa so it’s what we know. After we moved here from Las Vegas, we started talking about what we could do as a family and decided that a food truck was our best option”.
“My tattoo is from a Japanese anime called “Fooly Cooly”. It just reminds me that never to assume anything and that I have to have faith in something greater than myself”.