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Reflections and Lessons Learned in 2017


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.

Stroke by Stroke: Moving Forward with Mallory Weggemann

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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.“

Wheeling, Driving, Bowling, Preaching, Parenting…Johnny Hudson Does It All Hands-free!

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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.”

Full Speed Ahead with Endurance Racer Michael Johnson

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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.”

Wheeling around the World with Susie Twydell

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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.”

A Lesson on Living Life to the Fullest with Hydred Makabali

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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.”

-Jalaluddin Rumi

“Say what you mean, mean what you say, but don’t say it mean.”

-Unknown

Hipster son running with disabled father in wheelchair at park.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.”

Glen Schlotterbeck

Be brave. Go do it.”

Josh Thurmond

“Most of all, never, never, never give up on yourself!”

Peter Arballo

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Here’s to health, happiness, love, adventure, and everything else your heart desires in 2018!

betsy-bailey-headshotAbout the Author

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!

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Refuel and Rejuvenate At Abilities Expo New York Metro

East coasters, or anyone within striking distance, gear up for ...

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Criptaedo: Breaking Boards and Barriers

Editor’s note: Paul Brailer, aka Criptaedo, was born with spina ...

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Rolling Forward with Amputee Advocate Stella Sieber

I’m currently 63 years old and live in Durham, North Carolina. ...

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Stroke by Stroke: Moving Forward with Mallory Weggemann

Editor’s Note: At 18 years old, Mallory Weggemann walked into the ...

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Comfort Conversations: Finding Your New Normal After a Spinal Cord injury

Join us every other month for Comfort Conversations, a discussion ...

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Glenn Moscoso: Wheelchair Daddy

Editor’s note:  Glenn Moscoso is a husband and father living with ...

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Avoiding Slippery Slopes with Garth Walker and National Ramp

Editor’s Note: After selling his prior business, Garth Walker went ...

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The National Sports Center for the Disabled: Finding Self-Confidence through Personal Challenge

Editor’s Note: The National Sports Center for the Disabled, founded ...

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Wheeling around the World with Susie Twydell

Editor’s Note: Based in England, Susie Twydell, an avid traveler ...

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Amplitude Media Group: Closing the Information Gap

Wheel:Life is thrilled to announce their newest community partner, ...

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Accessible Hiking, Camping and Fishing? WOW!  

Editor’s Note: Wilderness on Wheels (WOW) is a foundation and a ...

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Comfort Conversations: Events, Free Packs, and More with James “Woody” Beckham

Editor’s Note: The Woody Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit ...

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Jenn Sexton Shares Her Secret for Independence: An Extra Long Cure Catheter

Jenn Sexton was five weeks pregnant when she and her husband, Thomas, ...

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Glen Schlotterbeck: Reinvent Yourself!

Editors note: As a graduate of the US Air Force Academy, Glen ...

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Educate, Energize, and Enlighten at Abilities Expo Los Angeles

The Abilities Expo is back in Los Angeles and gearing up to show you ...

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Juan Sebastian Betancourt: Changing the Way Businesses Serve People with Disabilities

Editor’s Note: Juan Betancourt is on a path to change the world for ...

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AccessibleIndonesia: Making Travel Accessible in a Non-Accessible Country

Editor’s note: Kerstin Beise, a German physiotherapist, who also ...

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A Lesson on Living Life to the Fullest with Hydred Makabali

Editor’s note: Hydred Makabali, born and raised in England and now ...

Up/Down Team Champions (Top L to R) Shane Hayden, Harold Collins (Seated L to R) Gary Bowling, Kenneth Hill, and Don Law
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Knocking Down The Pins of Life with Wheelchair Bowling Champion Kenneth Hill

Editor’s Note: Fifty-year-old Kenneth Hill from Plainfield, ...

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Take Your Wings and Fly with Denise Horn

Editor’s Note: Fifty-six-year-old Denise Horn of Janesville, ...

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Ashley Hutson Wilson Beat a Small Chance of Survival to Live a Full Life

Editor’s Note: Thirty-one year old Ashley Hutson Wilson from Kyle, ...

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Jam with Mel Bergman: Creator of Wheely Guitars

Editor’s Note: Mel Bergman of Camarillo, California, is the ...

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Gary “Tiger” Balletto: Champion Prize Fighter Who Rolls with the Punches

Editor’s Note: You can capture a ferocious wild tiger and put him ...

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Meet Robby Heisner: Creative Entrepreneur on Wheels

Editor’s Note: Robby Heisner of Smyrna, Georgia ...

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The National Rifle Association’s Adaptive Shooting Program with Dr. Joseph Logar

Dr. Joseph Logar Editor’s Note: Dr. Joseph Logar has his doctorate ...

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The Rollettes Take On an E.P.I.C. Project to Empower Others

Editor’s Note: Chances are, you’ve seen these ladies ...

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Speak Up Now to Save Your Wheelchair: Fight Medicare Cuts

Your window is narrowing to preserve access to mobility equipment – ...

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Go Further Together with GRIT: Stories of Community Support

Our friends at GRIT, the makers of the revolutionary Freedom Chair, ...

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Paralyzed Veteran’s Mom Awarded Dream Trip by ElDorado Mobility

Editor’s Note: Serving our country as a military service member is ...

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Wheelchair Karate: Attack the Attacker with Kenneth Perry

Editor’s Note: Kenneth Perry from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, ...

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Ditch Your Chair to Sit-Ski the Slopes with Tom Cannalonga 

Editor’s Note: Fifty-two-year-old Tom Cannalonga lives in Edison, ...

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Welcome to Wheel:Life

We are so glad you’re here! Wheel:Life is a global initiative ...

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