Before Thanksgiving 2019, Mike diPenna was a healthy and athletic businessman. No one could have imagined that he would fall ill with a bacterial infection in his blood and meningitis. This rare combination created numerous mini-strokes in many regions of his brain. Mike woke up after being in a coma and has been rebuilding his life ever since. During the past year, Mike has been relearning how to walk and use his body. In this episode, he and his wife Jodi share their story of determination, faith, and strength.
Emily Purry is an expert in accessibility, intersectionality, technology, and the world of ADA. Legally blind herself and the parent of a child with autism, she brings personal and professional experiences to help move companies forward. Emily delivers presentations and training on disability and equity topics relevant to today's business environment. She is the founder of RAPID, Rehabilitation & Athletic Performance Intersecting Disability. She is also the host of the podcast, Human Is My Label.
Today's guest, Nicholas Hinrichsen, has never considered himself a person with a disability. Nicholas lost his hair when he was only 11 years old. For six years, he hid his alopecia under a baseball cap and nursed his young self-esteem. Twenty years later, he graduated from Stanford Business School and started an online car sales platform that became "The Amazon for used cars!" Nicholas has just started a new venture called WithClutch.com, a digital platform to refinance auto loans. He is the picture of success and attributes his hair loss to building character and developing his authenticity.
Gail Hamilton will inspire you to live a life of vision, purpose, and action. She is a professional speaker and author of the book, Soaring Into Greatness. Gail has also earned two Masters degrees, sang a leading role in two operas, and won Ms. Colorado Senior America. She is a blind person who knows how to live life to the fullest!
John Register won the silver medal in the long jump at the 2000 Paralympic Games in Sydney, Australia. He had never heard of the Paralympics while he was a member of the U.S. Army and training to become a member of the 1996 Olympic Team. But on May 17, 1994, John landed wrong while going over a hurdle and severely hyperextended his knee. After numerous surgeries, John chose to have his damaged leg amputated to move forward with his life wearing a prosthetic leg. John overcame his fear, and the limits placed upon him. Now he teaches others to do the same.
Melanie Ausmus was struck ill and hospitalized with COVID-19. The entire world is experiencing the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Yet many of us do not know anyone who has been sick from the virus. Melanie openly talks about what it felt like to be ill and admitted to the hospital on two separate occasions. Her story will help assuage the overriding fear in our community and teach us that kindness is one of the essential qualities to practice through this pandemic.
Chris Madison lost his foot in a boating accident when he was only ten years old. At that time, he gave up his dream to be a fighter pilot but continued to set goals that have since shaped his life. Chris is an attorney for the state of Arkansas. Before getting his law degree, he served as a police officer for seven years. He has participated in numerous endurance events, including the Boston Marathon. Chris recently fulfilled his life-long goal by getting his pilot's license.
Katie is the granddaughter of Paul Leimkuehler, a World War II Veteran who invented the outriggers used by adaptive skiers throughout the world. Paul was a ski legend, orthotics and prosthetics leader, and war hero. Katie is the Executive Director of a documentary film called Fresh Tracks that brings her grandfather's legacy to the forefront as a pioneer in adaptive sports and the Father of 3-Track Skiing.
Greg Mannino is one of the top one-legged ski racers of our time. He lost his leg at age seventeen and found skiing to be an ideal outlet for going fast and being competitive. He raced in 5 Paralympic Events and 3 World Championships for the disabled. He's won numerous medals over the years. Greg now skis on two skis, using a specialized prosthetic leg. He is paying it forward by teaching and coaching, focusing on disabled veterans.
Bob Meserve was a member of the U.S. Disabled Ski Team from 1989 - 1993, skiing in a monoski. In 1992, he began to serve as the Winter Athlete Representative of the National Board of Directors for Disabled Sports USA (DSUSA). Since then, he has served on numerous boards and worked behind the scenes to provide funding and promote disabled sports and the Paralympics. In 2009, Bob was inducted into the National Disabled Snow Sports Hall of Fame for his work to grow the respected movement that the Paralympics and disabled sports have become today.