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Stroke by Stroke: Moving Forward with Mallory Weggemann

Editor’s Note: At 18 years old, Mallory Weggemann walked into the hospital for an epidural she was receiving as part of a standard course of treatment for residual pain from a prior case of shingles. As a result of an injection gone wrong, she did not walk back out of the hospital. Despite becoming paralyzed, Weggemann was not ready to leave behind the sport of swimming, something she’d been practicing for more than half of her life. She eventually found her way back into the pool and has since made more than a splash, breaking world records, winning Paralympic golds and being an ambassador for spinal cord injury awareness. She was also named the World Disabled Swimmer of the Year in 2009 and 2010, was awarded the Best Female Athlete with a Disability ESPY in 2011, and was featured in the documentary, The Current.

I grew up in Minnesota, and I’m the baby of three girls. My two older sisters swam on club and school teams. Being the youngest, I always got towed to practices and meets. A lot of why I started swimming was the whole feeling of wanting to be like my sisters. Seeing them swim and interact with their friends, it just seemed like a really fun environment. So, when I was seven years old, I started swimming competitively and never really looked back.

When senior year of high school came around, after the swim season was done, I decided to take a bit of a break. I was having some issues with really bad back pain stemming from shingles. Unfortunately, they never fully healed, and I got a condition called postherpetic neuralgia, which caused residual nerve pain. So after my senior year of high school, I decided to stay home for a year and do community college locally. For the following year, I wanted to go to a bigger out-of-state school, so I really wasn’t looking to swim, because I would have been a walk-on at a large Division I school, and I didn’t know if I wanted to do that anymore.

Walking In, Wheeling Out

For the postherpetic neuralgia, one of the things they were doing to help with the pain was epidural injections. The day that I went in was actually my third injection. It was this idea that we’d do a series of three injections and with each one, I’d get a more extended time of relief following it. I got my second one right before high school graduation, so I’d had a good solid seven to eight months of relief. We went in for that third injection on January 21, 2008. It was Martin Luther King Jr. day, and I had the day off from class, so I decided to go in and do it. It was supposed to be a very simple outpatient procedure, but unfortunately, it didn’t go as planned, and I ended up being admitted to the hospital and started this journey of living with a spinal cord injury.


For a while, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what happened in that room and why it happened and what went wrong. Unfortunately, those are answers that I may never have. I may never know what physically happened in that room, other than I walked into it, we did the injection, and I didn’t walk out of it.

You get to this point where, with any traumatic situation in life, you learn that sometimes you have to find a way to give yourself your own closure.

You have to close that chapter and allow yourself to move forward and not ask the whys and what ifs.

When I was in the hospital in the physical rehab unit, they had heard that I was a swimmer, so they did pool therapy with me. I still remember the first day I technically got back in the water. It was about three weeks after my injury. I had my mom and dad there, and I remember as they wheeled me into the pool, I realized that I couldn’t feel the water on my legs. I think that was the first time it really hit me in those three weeks that I truly couldn’t feel my own body. The pool was this place that my entire life was my safe haven. It was my sanctuary. It was what I knew best. It was second nature to me. When I got in the water that day, I realized how little control I had of my own body. I constantly kept telling myself, “Mind over matter. Act like you love it. It’ll come back. The water could be a good place for me.” Eventually, it just got too hard. I found myself in tears more often than not when I was in the pool. I felt like all of those years of happy memories were being taken away and being replaced with these memories, and I didn’t like that because the water had always been my sacred place. I stopped doing pool therapy and didn’t think I would ever return; I wanted to savor those happy memories from my childhood.

Moving Forward: One Hand in Front of the Other

malloryweggemann_usageimages-1The first weekend in April 2008 (I had been out of the hospital a few weeks at that point), my oldest sister was home, and she saw a newspaper article about the Paralympic Trials for the 2008 Beijing Games that were happening that weekend at the University of Minnesota. At that point in my life, my family and I knew nothing about the Paralympic movement. We had never been exposed to it, so we didn’t really know what to think. My sister and I ended up going, and I remember getting to the pool as the finals were going on and seeing athletes with all different levels of impairment competing. They were competing for their chance to represent Team USA at the Paralympic Games, which was a pretty darn big deal. I was just in awe. There were mixed emotions, because the last time I had been at that pool, I was walking; but when we got there, it was like nothing else mattered. I saw people for the first time that I felt were like me. There were individuals in wheelchairs. There were individuals that were vision impaired. There were individuals with amputations or cerebral palsy. You name it — everyone was there. Other than in the hospital, I hadn’t really been around people that I felt I could relate to. I went down to the pool that night and spoke to a few coaches and athletes, and I ended up meeting a man who coached the club team at the University of Minnesota. I went home to my parents that night, and I said I wanted to get back in the water. I think they thought I was kind of crazy because they had seen how horrible pool therapy was, but they were supportive.

Two days later, my dad took me to the University of Minnesota. I didn’t bring my suit or anything I needed to swim, because there was that fear. What was it going to feel like? After a few minutes of talking to the coach, one of my high school teammates who was a Minnesota Gopher, came out of the locker room, because they had just finished practice. She, of course, had more than one suit in her locker, so she went back in, grabbed a suit, came out, and I was told to go change. I was thinking, “I guess I’m doing this. I guess I don’t really have a choice at this point, right?” All I could think about while I was sitting in the locker room trying to put the suit on, and even getting out on the pool deck, was all of the emotions that I had during physical therapy. It was really hard to muster up the courage to get in the water that day. I think I realized at that point that I was two and a half months into my injury, and I was going to have to start making hard decisions. I knew getting back into life wasn’t going to be easy. There was going to be fear associated with it. But I also came to the conclusion that, although I was paralyzed with a spinal cord injury, the only thing that was truly going to paralyze me moving forward into my future would be those fears, and I had to find a way to get past them.

I took my leap of faith that day, and I got in the water. I just remember that within four or five strokes, that black line at the bottom of the pool felt like home.

With every arm stroke, I was moving further and further away from my wheelchair that was on the pool deck.

For the first time since my injury, I felt free from it all. I felt at home. I felt safe. I felt like I was in this world where I could control my own body. On land, I was still learning how to use my wheelchair. I was still very new at this and still trying to figure out how to transfer, how to get in and out of the car, and how to just live. In the pool, none of that mattered. I could swim. I could put one hand in front of the other and move myself forward. It was terrifying, but it was one of the most significant moments since my injury in just moving forward and making that choice to do so. As a result, I’ve been able to do that for many different things in my life, but I had to start from there.


I always say that after my injury, swimming saved me. There were a lot of hard times that came along with my injury — a lot — but the one constant that I felt I had in all of that was the pool. Some days, going to practice, as bad as it may sound, was my way of running from it. When I was in that water for two hours, I could focus on the bottom of the pool and the clock and find ways to make myself faster and stronger and physically excel. I felt like society was telling me that because I was disabled because I was paralyzed because I had a spinal cord injury, I was incapable of physically doing things. Going to the pool every day was my way of fighting back. It also became my place where, when I was struggling, it was my healthy outlet to go to and run away from it all. It was my place where I could challenge the perception that came with living with a disability. I felt like every day I went to that I pool, I could become faster and stronger and more efficient in the water. I was fighting against that stereotype that I’m physically incapable. The more I could do that, the stronger I felt, and the more empowered I felt to do that in other aspects of my life. It was my place where I learned how to live again. It didn’t happen overnight. It took a long time, but I’m very fortunate that I found a healthy outlet so early on in my injury. If I hadn’t, I don’t know where I would be.

Going For Gold – London 2012


I got back in the water in April of 2008, and I made the US national team in March of 2009. In August of 2009, I broke my first few world records. Before my two-year injury anniversary came in January 2010, I had been named to the national team, I had broken a number of world and American records, and I had won five world championship medals in the fall of 2009. I think it was right around that time when I realized London was on the radar.

My coach at the time didn’t know me before my injury. So, when I got back into the water that April, there wasn’t a sense of loss to him. My family, friends, and community were all grieving my paralysis as much as I was; but he just saw an athlete that wanted to swim. He encouraged me very early on to always have short-term goals, long-term goals, and “high in the sky” goals.

As I learned how to use my body again, and as I learned the new stroke techniques that worked best for me, I progressed really fast. We kept readjusting those “high in the sky” goals. When I made the national team, my “high in the sky” goal was going to London, and then by the fall of 2009, it became medaling there. Looking back, medaling probably wasn’t really “high in the sky”, considering I’d just won five gold medals at the World Championships. But I still had so much more to learn about the sport, and I was so new to being disabled. Since swimming was the one thing that I could control in my life, I became hyper-focused, and I progressed very quickly. I was still grieving my injury, but at the pool, I could excel and move forward and do something about it.

Swimming became my healthy addiction.

I had no idea what to expect going into London. You dream of it; you build it up on this pedestal. People say, “Don’t build it up too high, because what if it doesn’t live up to your standards?” Well, London blew every standard I had ever imagined away. I had no idea what I was getting into. Everything about the London 2012 Games was incredible. There was so much energy. But it also brought its challenges for me as an athlete, and it was some of the lowest and highest moments of my career in one experience. An unexpected review of my classification came about a few weeks leading into the Games, and I ended up getting brought up a class just days before competition started.

Editor’s Note: In the sport of para-swimming, a classification system is used to evaluate each athlete’s abilities and limitations. Based on several factors, including medical diagnosis and functional assessments, athletes with physical disabilities are categorized on a scale of one to ten, with one being the most severely impaired and ten being the least impaired.

Dealing with that was tough. Classification is something that is not perfect. Every disability is so incredibly different and has its own complexities. As the sport continues to grow and evolve, they’re continuing to learn and make the process better. Unfortunately, the decision was made, and as an athlete, you just have to go with it whether it’s fair or not and whether it makes sense or not. You just have to grin and bear it, because if you focus on it too much, it’s the end of you.

I would now be competing against girls that I had never raced before, and my race days and events completely changed. Everything my coach and I had planned for had changed a few days before the competition started. I went in thinking my goal was nine medals, and I left with two. But, I believe that the gold and bronze that I brought home from London mean so much more than any of those nine could have meant because of the soul-searching and fighting that I had to do. It’s not like I had months to adjust — I had hours. I realized the importance of the mental component of swimming on a whole new level in London. One of the biggest successes for me there was finding a way to get my head on straight and take some completely undesirable circumstances and mentally focus to the point that I could come away with a gold medal. I was in fifth or sixth place at the 25-meter mark, and to not let myself mentally give up and just keep fighting is probably one of the proudest moments of my career. I know how much fight went into it, not physically, but mentally. You can be physically prepared, but if you’re not mentally present, it doesn’t matter. You made it to race day. When you get to finals, those seven other athletes are physically prepared, too.

Most races come down to the mental battle and who is able to mentally perform their best that day.

mallory-weggemann_london-2012_gold-medalLondon was a really big learning experience for me. As hard as it was, I was able to leave with a lot of incredible memories and a lot of learning, and that’s just imperative as an athlete. You constantly have to be challenging yourself. You’re never too old or too good to learn and become better.

It was also a really neat moment for me in my personal life realizing how far I had come in four years. I still remember sitting on the podium that night looking down the pool and seeing the American flag raising. I looked to the left and saw all of my Team USA teammates. To my right were my family and my coach. I realized that as incredible as that moment was, the gold medal had nothing to do with the race. It was about the journey. It was about the love and heartbreak. It was about the community more than anything and the people that never gave up on me, empowered me, supported me and pushed me to become better each and every day. To be in that moment realizing one of your greatest challenges in your athletic career is so much bigger than you is one of the most humbling and incredible experiences you could ever imagine. I wish I could bottle up that moment and relive it. Unfortunately, you don’t get to do that!

Reaching for the Repeat in Rio

I had a severe injury to my left arm in March of 2014. An accessible shower bench at a hotel I was staying at broke in the middle of my shower and dropped me to the ground. As a result of the fall, I have permanent nerve damage in my left arm. I was out of the pool for six months and thought I was going to have to retire. My boyfriend at the time, now husband, knew that I did not want to be done. He knew that every part of me was not ready to hang it up yet, so he reached out to my former high school swim coach who I had been very close with. I started meeting up with him for 30 minutes a couple days a week, but I could hardly swim. I had gained around 25 pounds because I had such limited movement in my arm. It was a tough process, but I had always envisioned competing in more than one Paralympic Games. I knew that I didn’t want to give up that easily on that dream. So I vowed to myself and shared with my coach and my family that I wanted to see this through. If I just gave my best every day, which some days meant simply getting out of bed, then that would have to be enough. I knew that at the end of this road, if I didn’t give it everything I had, that it would be more painful to me than dealing with the day in and day out stuff. So I made a commitment to it.


I went to the Pan American Games in the summer of 2015 and won two golds, two silvers and a bronze there. We pushed really hard the final year before Rio, and I made the team on July 3. Unfortunately, I didn’t medal there, but I did have some incredible swims for myself. I went in thinking, “If I don’t medal then what’s this about? It’s a failure.” But, I realized that success and failure in an athletic career aren’t always based off of medals. It was a lesson that was really hard for me to learn, because I had never gone to an international competition and not medaled; but it was a lesson I needed to learn. I needed to come home from the Games realizing that the reason why I love the sport isn’t because I’m good at it. I love the sport because I love it, even in moments when people could chalk it up as a failure, I still love the sport more than ever. As I go into 2020, I’ve been swimming for over 20 years, and I still love the sport just as much as I did as a kid.

Fueling Up

mallory1My dad threw me into the speaking circuit back in 2011. I used to be terrified of speaking, and now I love it. A lot of my speaking is a conversation around life experiences and how we as individuals overcome adversity, how we make those series of choices in our own lives, whether personally or professionally, to keep us moving forward. Speaking is a huge passion outside of the pool. I love the ability to connect with people. I love meeting different individuals and hearing their stories. It’s a really neat experience, and a lot of times, I think my audience inspires me more than I inspire them.

As I’ve gotten older, I can’t focus 100% of my energy on the sport of swimming; otherwise, I won’t be the best athlete I can be.

The speaking and traveling isn’t a distraction from swimming; it’s more invigorating than anything, and it really helps keep me energized. My swimming fuels my speaking, and my speaking fuels my swimming.

Giving Back

I continue to focus on speaking and finding ways to give back to the sport of swimming and the Paralympic movement. I decided that I don’t want to wait until I leave the sport to have an impact. I want to help bring that next generation into the sport, so I can hang up my suit, cap and goggles knowing that I left it better than I found it. If we all do that as athletes, that’s how change happens; that’s how we continue to advance our sports and the movement as a whole. It’s so important to do that because the sport, whatever it is we compete in, has given so much to us, and it’s important to make sure we give back to it. All of our sports can constantly improve. No matter how good they are, they can constantly get better. Just like we as athletes can always do better.

Wings for Life World Run

I’m super excited about the Wings For Life World Run. I love the idea. It’s so untraditional. The cool part about it is that they’re raising awareness to spinal cord injury in a way that really isn’t done. There’s a lot of learning to do about SCI and a lot of research that can be done; so to have a group that’s so dedicated to that focus is really neat.


The way the race works is they have a catcher car that comes after you. You start the race and after 30 minutes, the catcher car is released, and the finish line starts coming for you. I don’t know how far I’m going to make it, but I’ll be there as an ambassador for the movement.

Editor’s Note: The Wings for Life World Run will take place on May 7, 2017 at 7am EDT at multiple locations across the world. Mallory Weggemann will be racing in Sunrise, Florida. You can join her team from wherever you are by signing up here. Using the app (Apple App Store or Google Play), you can participate in the race from anywhere in the world. 100% of donations and entry fees go to spinal cord injury research. For more details, visit

Embracing Uncertainty


The biggest piece of advice I’d give somebody with a new injury would be to allow yourself to embrace the uncertainty. When you’re newly injured, so much of your life gets thrown into the air. You feel like everything that you thought about prior to that has a question mark next to it. I think that’s a fairly universal feeling for most people with a new injury. 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. It’s scary. It’s absolutely terrifying, and it sounds so much easier than it is, but it really is the best way to move forward. Ultimately, injury or not, we all have to find a way to face our fears; but in a situation like that, there are just so many that take hold. Find a way to face those fears, and don’t over analyze everything. Taking it head on, even on days where it absolutely terrifies you, is the best thing you can do for yourself in the long run. The way to find the strength to do that is to remember that you have a community of people around you that love and support you. Whether that be family members, friends, mentors, therapists, whoever it is, lean on those people. That’s what is going to give you the strength to face those uncertainties and take charge so you can challenge yourself and move forward with life.

About the Authorbetsy-bailey-headshot

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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Colorful background with text reading, "The Global Collaborative Community for and by People with Disabilities, Sharing Experiences and Knowledge, So No One Feels Alone."

Yoocan Storytellers Discuss Interabled Relationships and Adaptive Sports

Wheel:Life has mentioned how incredible Yoocan is a few times now, so ...

Easterseals Disability Film Challenge logo with film festival feathers against a city skyline backdrop and orange and blue sky.

Calling Filmmakers, Writers, and Actors: Join the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge!

Having started his career at an early age, actor and comedian Nic ...


Comfort Conversations: How Hydred Makabali Stays Balanced and Healthy

Editor’s Note:  In 2017, we featured a story about living life to ...


Love Really Does Conquer All: How Ralph and Mayra Fornos Turned Tragedy into Triumph

Editor’s Note:  Emigrating from Cuba to Southern California, the ...


Tammy Duckworth, Disabled Veteran and Senator, Talks about Injury, Advocacy, and Motherhood

Editor’s Note:  During deployment in 2004 as a Black Hawk ...


Singer-Songwriter Ali McManus Has OI, But She’s Far From Breakable

Editor’s Note:  Ali McManus spent the beginning of her life ...


SXSW: Transforming Society’s Image of Disability

What started as a small music festival of 700 attendees in 1987 has ...


Rollettes Star Samantha Lopez Shares Her Backstory

In this Wheel:Life interview, Sam Lopez of the Rollettes discusses ...


Comfort Conversations: Ralph’s Riders Launches Ride On In Life Campaign

For many people, the month of January represents a new beginning, an ...


Five February Events Celebrating the Disability Community

February is a short month, but that doesn’t mean there’s no time ...

Female diver on deck

Take a Plunge into the Underwater World with Dive Pirates

Editor’s Note: Have you ever dreamt of plunging off the edge of a ...


Yoocan: Where People with Disabilities from All Over the World Connect

Back in 2017, Wheel:Life featured a story on Yoocan and Alto. For ...


Finding Happily Ever After with Annette Ross

Editor’s Note:  Annette Ross was living the fairy-tale life. She ...


NorCal SCI: Helping People Navigate Through Post-Injury Challenges

Editor’s Note:  When Franklin Elieh and Nick Struthers, both ...


Remembering 2018: Lessons to Carry into 2019

As each year comes to a close, we like to look back and reflect on ...

Hales family photo

Pushing Pedals for Fun and Therapy – Kessley Hales and Her Freedom Concepts Bike

Editor’s Note: When Kristi Hales noticed her unborn baby wasn’t ...


5 Adaptive Events You Should Try This Year

2019 is here! What’s on your list of resolutions for the new year? ...


3 Accessible New Year’s Destinations You Still Have Time to Book

Are your New Year’s plans still up in the air? How about taking a ...

group photo in park

Comfort Conversations: How Does Giving Help Defeat the Holiday Blues?

Feelings of sadness are different for everyone as is each ...

Hand cycler on trail

Visit these Bucket-List Accessible Travel Destinations in 2019

This New Year, resolve to explore your world with these U.S.-based ...


You Are Enough, Disability and All

No one can deny that living with a disability renders daily living ...

Bennie Jose Perez

Amputee Veteran Bennie Jose Perez Didn’t Let Shattered Dreams Stop Him From Finding a New Passion

Editor’s Note:  Bennie Jose Perez had dreamt of joining the Marine ...


Don’t Miss These 5 Adaptive Events This December

December is here, and while we love to use holiday parties as an ...


How Adaptive Fitness is Helping Joanna Bonilla Fight for Recovery

Editor’s Note:  Fitness enthusiast Joanna Bonilla hadn’t been ...


One Adaptive Athlete’s Story on How Perseverance Saved His Life

Editor’s Note:  From dancing to triathlons, 31-year-old Vincenzo ...


Clay Garner’s Fight to Beat Transverse Myelitis

Editor’s Note:  Clay Garner, a successful entrepreneur and ...


5 Adaptive and Advocacy Events You Shouldn’t Miss This November

This November boasts many reasons and ways to get active. By ...


Gaelynn Lea is Changing the Music World in More Ways Than One

Editor’s Note:  When an orchestra performed at her school, ...


Comfort Conversations: Top 10 Instances of Discrimination Against People With Disabilities

People with disabilities make up the nation’s largest minority ...


Meet Stanley + More Great Resources for Kids Who Cath

When you watch Stanley, a 15-month-old Bernedoodle, work with kids, ...


SAS: Campaigning for the Support of Adaptive Sports

Editor’s Note: Connie Cardenas grew up running, and even into early ...


101 Mobility Chicago: Helping People Stay in Their Homes

Editor’s Note:  When a dear friend was diagnosed with Amyotrophic ...


It’s Disability Awareness Month! Here’s What’s Happening Near You This October

In late summer of 1945, as World War II was coming to an end, ...


Go Off the Beaten Path with the Outbounder 6×6

Editor’s Note: After falling from a tree while hunting, Geoff ...


Celebrate World Ostomy Day by Running, Walking, or Rolling for Resilience

Disability Awareness month is coming up and with so many great events ...


Causes for Change: Making a Difference at Home and Abroad

Editor’s Note:  As an infant, Zully JF Alvarado contracted polio, ...


Chris Lenart on Life With Cerebral Palsy and

Editor’s Note:  After a difficult childbirth in which both baby ...


Ms. Wheelchair America: Empowering Women, Shaping Leaders

Editor’s Note:  Over three decades ago, Michigander Shelly Loose ...


The Story of Two Guys, a Wheelchair, and El Camino

What was simply meant to be two best friends hiking El Camino de ...


Edna Serrano is a Roll Model for Strong Latina Women

Below, Edna Serrano of the Rollettes shares her story of growing up ...


Pauline Victoria Shares Why She’s Creating a Media Outlet for the Disability Community

Editor’s Note:  While Pauline Victoria’s parents were preparing ...


Adaptive Events Happening This August

We have to face the facts…another summer is nearing its end. ...

Two photos, on of Tatiana Lee, the other of the Ingram family

Two SpeediCath Users Tell Wheel:Life Their Stories

When Wheel:Life learned that two Coloplast SpeediCath users would be ...


Air Travel as a Wheelchair User: What Should You Expect?  

After my injury twelve years ago, there were many things I had always ...


Freedom Concepts: Helping Kids Be Kids

Editor’s Note:  After complications at birth, Jacoby Zebinski was ...


Travel for All: Making Adventure a Reality for Joanne and Bill Hogan

  Editor’s Note: As the son of a military man and the daughter ...


The Chanda Plan Foundation:  Changing Lives Through Access to Integrative Therapy

Editor’s Note: When conventional medicine was failing quadriplegic ...


Founder of Life Rolls On Jesse Billauer Wants to Help You Catch a Wave

Editor’s Note:  Growing up in southern California, Jesse ...


Tecla: Fostering Independence Through Access to Technology

Editor’s Note:  While studying biomedical engineering in his home ...


New! A Pocket-Sized Cure Hydrophilic Kit Made for You

A new pocket-sized kit from Cure Medical is now available for people ...


Super Leg Joel Ellen on Faith and Fitness After Limb Loss

Editor’s Note:  When athlete and fitness fanatic Joel Ellen ...


From Frustration to Innovation:  How Universal Vests is Changing Industry Standards

While studying physical therapy, the founders of Universal Vests ...


Comfort Conversations: Anyone Can Dance

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

4 girls riding bikes, one of which is an adaptive bike by Freedom Concepts

The Benefits of Your Child Getting Active with Adaptive Bike Riding

Parents of children living with disabilities:  Take a minute to ...


Our Top 5 Accessible Summer Vacation Destinations

It’s time to talk about summer vacation plans. If you like to have ...


A New Book Teaches Kids About the Life of a Service Dog

Editor’s Note:  As a single mom of a 7-year-old, Amy Sherwood was ...


Win a Trip to the Boston Abilities Expo

Have you always wanted to attend an Abilities Expo but you don’t ...

A person with a green helmet uses an ice pics to climb an icy cliff.

Wheel:Life and Comfort Medical Sponsor the Paradox Sports Adaptive Ice Climbing Trip

Editor’s Note:  A little over a decade ago, a group of guys with a ...


Norah Self-Caths in Kindergarten, Thanks to this Free Resource

It’s a given that kids who cath want to be like their friends at ...


The Healing Powers of Grounding Therapy for Wheelchair Users

Editor’s Note:  Having grown up on a farm in rural Montana, Clint ...


Cruising the Planet with Amputee Debra Kerper

Editor’s Note: When a bone infection complicated by lupus took ...


The Online Dating Experience for the Disabled

Dating is hard. Dating is really hard. If you have a disability, ...


Inclusion, Adventure, and Therapy with Freedom Concepts

Editor’s Note: In 2014, Michigan residents Caroline Booth and Matt ...


Where Do You Want to Go?

Have you always dreamt of seeing the Aurora Borealis in Alaska? Or ...


TerrainHopper USA: Bringing Adventure and Freedom to People with Disabilities

Editor’s Note:  Born with osteogenesis imperfecta, Todd Lemay ...


Breaking Down Broadcasting Barriers with Paul Amadeus Lane

Editor’s Note: Growing up in Long Beach, California, Paul Amadeus ...


Zebreda Dunham Powers Through Challenges on the Pitch and in Life

Editor’s Note:  Born with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita, ...


Adaptive Aerial Yoga Allows Wheelchair Users to Fly

  Editor’s Note: Texas native Sara Schaffer has been ...


Sex, Love, and Disability:  Ben Duffy’s New Documentary Exposes It All

Filmmaker Ben Duffy and Ajani “AJ” Murray met while working on a ...


Amputee Bob Clausen Says If You Want Something Bad Enough, You Will Do It

Editor’s Note:  Widower and Navy veteran Rober “Bob” ...


The Ms. Wheelchair California Pageant: A Life-Changing Experience

As the Ms. Wheelchair California Leadership Institute, formerly known ...


Comfort Conversations: Support Systems Are Key After a Life-Altering Tragedy

Having key support systems after a life-altering injury is crucial. ...


Sheri Melander-Smith on Living Your Best Life

Editor’s Note:  Sheri Melander-Smith was born with a vascular ...


5 Extreme Activities to Add to Your Bucket List

Have you already tried all of the typical adaptive sports available ...


Reflections and Lessons Learned in 2017

We hope your 2017 was as enlightening and empowering as ours was here ...


Living with MS: One Family’s Solution to Enjoying Life Events Again

Dave was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1999 and for the first ...


4 Tips to Help Teach Your Child About Self-Catheterization

At a certain age, kids will be the first to tell you that they want ...


Winter Weather Preparedness Tips for Wheelchair Users

Are you dreading this winter season? Dealing with slushy, icy, snowy, ...


Making Adaptive Climbing More Accessible with Arthur Torrey

Editor’s Note: When a tree-cutting accident in 2010 led to broken ...


Barbara Cramer – 75 Years of Defying Stereotypes

Editor’s Note:  An earlier version of this post may have left the ...


Serving the Spina Bifida Community with the SBAGNE

I serve as the executive director of the SBAGNE. One of my primary ...


Comfort Medical is Helping People to Achieve a Healthier and Happier Lifestyle

If you’re an avid Wheel:Life reader, you may remember that we ...


Advocating for Disability Rights with Stephanie Woodward and CDR

Editor’s Note: During a summer internship at the Center for ...


Building Strength and Confidence with Handi Capable Fitness

Editor’s Note: A botched hernia operation during infancy left James ...

woman next to girl on Freedom Concepts adaptive bike

Comfort Medical Sponsors Freedom Concepts to Help You Win An Adaptive Bike

Have you always dreamt of gliding down the street with the wind in ...

women in wheelchairs dancing at Abilities Expo

Experience It All At the Abilities Expo!

Days are becoming shorter, nights longer, and the holiday season is ...


ParaSportsLive: Bringing Adaptive Sports Coverage to the World

Editor’s Note:  When wheelchair user Tony Jackson’s original ...


Introducing the New Cure Ultra Coude Intermittent Catheter for Men

Cure Medical has unveiled the new 16-inch Cure Ultra® Coude ...


Get Ready for Rolling With Me’s Each By Name Conference

Wheel:Life, Comfort Medical, and Rolling With Me is excited to ...


Smooth Sailing with David Gaston

Editor’s Note:  A Texas coast native, David Gaston has been in and ...


Gain Traction This Fall with National Ramp

Summer is officially over and dreary winter weather is on its way. ...


Wheelchair Dancers Organization Says Everybody Can Dance!

When life-long dancer Beverly Weurding was diagnosed with limb-girdle ...


Pursuing Health and Happiness with Malaise Wheelchair Fitness

Editor’s Note: Justin Malaise grew up in small-town Wisconsin as a ...


Former Ms. Wheelchair Illinois Continues to be a Voice for the Community

Editor’s Note: Born with spina bifida, Kim Brown has been a ...


Dare to Discover the World of Accessible Travel With Handiscover

Editor’s Note: Sebastien Archambeaud has always loved traveling, so ...


Made for Kids! The Pediatric Hydrophilic Cure Catheter + Free Backpack Program

Parents only want what’s best for their children and keeping them ...


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

Editor’s Note: Johnny Hudson was born in 1977 with unforeseen ...


The Abilities Expo is Coming To Boston!

Boston awaits with open arms. This September 8–10, head over to the ...


Comfort Conversations: Change Starts with You – Becoming an Advocate

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

» Blazing the Trail Towards an Accessible World  

Editor’s Note: After sustaining severe burns during a car accident ...


The Artfully Gifted Foundation – Serving Entrepreneurs with Disabilities

Editor’s Note: The Artfully Gifted Foundation (a non-profit) was ...


How the SCRS-IL Can Help You Live Independently

Editor’s Note: When triple degree holder Jose Gonzalez returned ...


Peter Arballo Never Gave Up on Himself — Neither Should You

Editor’s Note: Peter Arballo was born in Southern California to ...


Full Speed Ahead with Endurance Racer Michael Johnson

Editor’s Note: Michael Johnson of Lansing, Michigan, started racing ...


The Extraordinary Life of Triple Amputee Monica Vickers

Editor’s Note: Monica Vickers was born in 1954 missing both legs ...


Rick Hayden Rolls on Capitol Hill for Your Rights

When Rick Hayden visited the US Capitol last week, he went with your ...


Gear Up for Abilities Expo Chicago

Calling all Midwesterners — Abilities Expo is coming to Chicago! As ...


Run, Jump, and Throw Stuff with Angel City Sports

Editor’s Note: Clayton Frech is the CEO and founder of Los ...


Sled Hockey with Coach Koz

Editor’s Note: Sled hockey (also known as sledge hockey) is almost ...


Summer Solutions with STYLEDWEL

Editor’s Note: Mary Marshall, founder of STYLEDWEL, created ...


Following Your Inner Guidance with Kristina Rhoades and How National Ramp is Helping Her Do It

Editor’s Note: Kristina Rhoades is a mom, wife, speaker, writer, ...


Comfort Conversations: Finding Encouragement Through Peer Support Groups

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


Allen Beauchamp on Life, Love and Hockey

My name is Allen Beauchamp, and I’m 43 years old. I live in a ...


Yoocan Get Empowered!

Editor’s Note: Inspired by a family member with disabilities, Moshe ...


Introducing the Cure Ultra: Ready to Use Catheter for Men

Cure Medical has unveiled the new 16-inch Cure Ultra™ Intermittent ...


Refuel and Rejuvenate At Abilities Expo New York Metro

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


Criptaedo: Breaking Boards and Barriers

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


Rolling Forward with Amputee Advocate Stella Sieber

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


Stroke by Stroke: Moving Forward with Mallory Weggemann

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


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

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


Glenn Moscoso: Wheelchair Daddy

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


Avoiding Slippery Slopes with Garth Walker and National Ramp

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


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

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


Wheeling around the World with Susie Twydell

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


Amplitude Media Group: Closing the Information Gap

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


Accessible Hiking, Camping and Fishing? WOW!  

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


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

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


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

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


Glen Schlotterbeck: Reinvent Yourself!

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


Educate, Energize, and Enlighten at Abilities Expo Los Angeles

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


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 ...


AccessibleIndonesia: Making Travel Accessible in a Non-Accessible Country

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


A Lesson on Living Life to the Fullest with Hydred Makabali

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


Knocking Down The Pins of Life with Wheelchair Bowling Champion Kenneth Hill

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


Take Your Wings and Fly with Denise Horn

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


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, ...


Jam with Mel Bergman: Creator of Wheely Guitars

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


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

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


Meet Robby Heisner: Creative Entrepreneur on Wheels

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


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

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


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

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


Speak Up Now to Save Your Wheelchair: Fight Medicare Cuts

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

engineered for adventure GRIT

Go Further Together with GRIT: Stories of Community Support

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


Paralyzed Veteran’s Mom Awarded Dream Trip by ElDorado Mobility

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


Wheelchair Karate: Attack the Attacker with Kenneth Perry

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


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

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


Welcome to Wheel:Life

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