We hope your 2017 was as enlightening and empowering as ours was here at Wheel:Life. As we kick off a new year, we wanted to look back on some of our most memorable interviews from 2017 and remind ourselves to bring along some of the lessons learned into 2018.
At the young age of 18, high school swimmer Mallory Weggemann was the victim of a botched medical procedure that left her in a wheelchair. Like many others who endure life-changing injuries, she struggled with the uncertainties she was sure to face as a paraplegic. By returning to her former safe space, the pool, she learned that stroke by stroke, she could continue to move forward and choose the life she wanted to live despite her disability. After breaking multiple international records and winning gold at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Weggemann now has her sights set on Tokyo in 2020. Root for her and follow her progress on her website and Facebook page. See Mallory's story here.
Words of wisdom from Mallory:
“The biggest way to have success in moving forward is to find a way to be comfortable with the uncomfortable, to push yourself, to not allow those fears of uncertainty get the best of you, and to put yourself out there.“
Johnny Hudson has his mother to thank for bringing him home from the hospital against the advice of her doctors who encouraged her to sign him over to their care. Born without arms and severely deformed lower extremities, Hudson has been defying stereotypes since day one. As an adult, he keeps busy with work, preaching, and parenting. What can we learn from Johnny? See Johnny's story here.
“Focus on what you can change and what you can do, not on what you can’t change.”
After breaking his back during a motorcycle race at the age of 12, Michael Johnson could have thrown in the towel on life and racing. Instead, no longer able to ride a motorcycle, he rechanneled his passion into cars, physical fitness, and a healthy lifestyle. Follow along as he chases his dream for a spot in one of the most prestigious endurance racing competitions in the world, The 24 Hours of Le Mans. See Michael's story here.
Words of wisdom from Michael:
“Focus on something that makes you enjoy life. Find a goal to go after that keeps you busy and active.”
“Just try to enjoy the life you have, because it could always be worse.”
Having been an avid traveler for several years, Susie Twydell thought she’d be able to continue her usual jet-setting ways despite being diagnosed with RRMS. When her symptoms eventually put her in a wheelchair, she quickly realized how difficult it was to find accessibility information when researching travel destinations. This led her to the launch of wheelchairworld.org, a travel review website for wheelchair users. See Susie's story here.
Since our interview with Susie back in March, wheelchairworld.org has been undergoing a redesign and is now an official charity in the United Kingdom. She also rolled out some new features, such as a monthly newsletter including a summary of freshly added reviews and a non-country specific section with information on airlines, travel equipment, and more. Be the first to try her smartphone app by following Wheelchair World on Facebook and Twitter for more information on its upcoming release.
Susie’s secret to making the best of every situation:
“Having a sense of humor is a key coping mechanism. I can be crying with frustration one minute, but then I crack a joke and the mood changes.”
Hydred Makabali was in a car accident just after her 18th birthday. While her friends were thinking about college and the endless possibilities that lay ahead, she was dealing with her new life as a paraplegic. After a friend helped her through a period of depression and agoraphobia, she decided to stop letting her injury control her and move on with her life. Since then, Makabali has been a professional billiards player, a model sponsored by Colours Wheelchair, and a distinguished cosplay makeup artists whose work has gone viral on Pinterest. We agree that her favorite quotes are words to live by! See Hydred's story here.
“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do.”
“Say what you mean, mean what you say, but don’t say it mean.”
We interviewed so many amazing people in 2017 who have made the choice to get the most out of life. As we strive to create a fulfilling future and stick to our 2018 resolutions, let’s remember:
“...you have two ways to go about your life in this situation: you can give up, and there’s no future in that, or you can try to make the best of it, and move on. This is the only life you get, so try to improve it and make the best out of your situation.”
“Be brave. Go do it.”
“Most of all, never, never, never give up on yourself!”
Here’s to health, happiness, love, adventure, and everything else your heart desires in 2018!
Betsy Bailey has a diverse background including experience in marketing research at American Express, business operations and client relations with 601am, travel and culinary writing with VegDining, and playing volleyball professionally overseas.
Betsy is excited to get back into writing, something she’s adored since childhood, and thoroughly enjoys the process of getting to know her interviewees. On top of her work with Wheel:Life, she also teaches students learning English as a second language, speaks French fluently, and travels any chance she gets!