Tony Drees is a powerhouse of positivity. He is a Desert Storm Purple Heart Amputee. Tony miraculously survived a scud missile attack, but his right leg was severely damaged. He endured over 70 surgeries to save his leg, and finally, in 2018, the leg was amputated at the hip. Tony is an advocate for veterans and an ambassador for diversity and inclusion. He lives by his mantra, "No lies. No Excuses. Never Quit."
Check out Tony's website here!
Michael Belew is a young man with a vision. While taking a much-deserved break from intense military training, he dove into a wave and broke his neck. Now he only has sensation from his chest upward and partial feeling in his arms. His accident was only six months ago, and his positive attitude and competitive determination have put him on a new training path to heal and recover.
Bill Mayo battled a cancerous tumor in his right thigh (named Stanley by his grandchildren) for eight years. When cancer reappeared for the third time, he decided to have his leg amputated to get rid of it once and for all. In this episode of A Leg Up On Life, Bill shares his story, faith in God, and his life philosophy. He is the author of numerous books, including Howard, Stanley, & Me.
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.