Chris Waddell handles upstream. Kilimanjaro on a handcycle to inspire people with disabilities.
Posts Tagged ‘one revolution’
2009 was quite a year with the climb, the preparation, the stress, the travel, the excitement and the press. When I finally had time to reflect, I realized something that may have been obvious to many of you. One Revolution’s mission is to gain equality for people with disabilities by removing obstacles specifically to mobility and public perception. We’ve called our mission “shining a light,” and “offering opportunity,” but it’s ultimately about “equality,” which was a difficult revelation for me. I never want to complain or whine that something isn’t fair, but there is a problem that we can’t ignore. People with disabilities are a minority that is hidden, invisible and mute. It’s easy to think that Americans with Disabilities Act solved all the issues, but it didn’t. Obstacles persist unchallenged as assumptions that ignore the individual. Let me give you an example.
On January 1st, while scooting down my basement stairs to train on my roller, I broke my leg when I slipped a couple of steps and ran into the wall. I heard my tib/fib snap and knew that I had to go to the hospital even though I experienced no pain.
After checking my heart rate, blood pressure, temperature, etc., the attendant asked, “What drugs are you on?”
“Really? For someone in your state, no depression?”
I can’t imagine that she would make that comment to another minority. It revealed the assumptions that lay below the surface. And I feel like I project a happy and undeterred attitude. What if she made that comment to someone who hasn’t done the things that I’ve done? We need to challenge the assumptions that society harbors as fact because they are the obstacles to gaining equality not just for people with disabilities, but for all of us.
With change and equality in mind, we are planning a 10-month, 30 city tour that will combine our educational program, “Nametags,” with film showings. In each city we will spend about a week with goals of 15 school presentations and 3-4 film showings. For the entire tour, we hope to reach 450 schools and 150,000 students.
A tentative tour schedule and brief “Nametags” description are below. Please contact Stephanie Schacht (email@example.com) if you would like us to visit your school or community.
All my best,
How many of us spent childhood trying to fit in—trying to hide deficiencies, insecurities, strengths and talents—not wanting to be labeled different—not wanting to wear a “Nametag” that says “geek,” “dork,” “gifted,” “overachiever,” or “dreamer?” Wouldn’t it be a gift for our kids, to live without labels? Maybe then they could look beyond their first impressions to see the greatness in others and the potential in themselves. “Nametags” looks at our differences not as reasons to be separate, but as indications of potential genius, and a great reason to come together.
Through activities and anecdotes in a comfortable give-and-take environment, we will challenge the students to look at their choices and actions and to take personal responsibility for their education, relationships, future and the world around them.
Click here for tour dates.
What’s next? I guess climbing a 19,000-foot mountain begs that question and I intend to answer it, but first thank you all for following our efforts. It was so cool to get your emails and posts of encouragement. I am totally blown away by the number of you that followed us. I apologize for disappearing for a couple of days. There was no attempt to heighten the drama. We just lost of cell and satellite service in the crater. I’m sorry if any of you worried for our wellbeing.
This project started because I thought we could create social change about the way that we see ourselves and others. My platform is physical disability, but I hope it extends to include all of us who feel limited by what we or other people think. In September we made it to the top of the mountain, but we’ve barely scratched surface on creating social change. The answer to what’s next: hopefully a lot. Hopefully, we take our mission of “visibility and opportunity” to locations around the world the way that we did with Kili, but we have to finish this job first.
We plan to grow “Mobility Revolution”, our wheelchair and handcycle donation program. We’re still working on these parts. On the film side, we have shot 200 hours of footage, which needs to be cut into a 90-minute feature length documentary. Through that visual medium, we can capitalize on the momentum from the climb to create social change. It’s all about the “mo,” which is why I’ve been totally crazy since I returned from Africa.
On the flight home, I stopped in New York City to attend the Sports Legend Dinner for the Bunoconti Foundation. Later in the week I spoke to a group at Unicef and then did a press conference for the Utah press at Westminster College in Salt Lake City. October brought me to New Orleans for a presentation to TEAMS 2009, then to San Diego for the Challenged Athletes Foundation annual Triathlon and three Nametags presentations to La Jolla Country Day, then back to the East Coast for a day with ESPN (Firstake, News, and a Newsmakers presentation) in Bristol, and a trip to Boulder, Colorado for meetings with Warren Miller Entertainment about the film and possible partnerships. At the end of November I head to Monaco for Sports for Peace Conference hosted by Prince Albert.
Needless to say, it’s been crazy, but we did the climb to create a buzz—to hopefully get people to notice us and they have. We’ve done a ton of press, both local and National. I have also partnered with New York Times Best Selling Author, Don Yeager to write my story. We’re exploring alternate possibilities for the film such as creating a tour to take it and our Nametags presentation to communities throughout the country as soon as next fall. This would be in addition to film festivals and hopefully network television. Our biggest goal is to reach as many people as possible. The tour also represents a greater opportunity for sponsorship to help finish the film.
Next steps: We need to raise money and sponsorship to finish a rough cut for the film. We need to put together a tour, figure out partnerships, get a publisher for the book, and really make the change that we intend. It’s a lot of work, but the climb gives us a ton of momentum.
Thanks for your continued support and I hope you’ll continue to follow the Blog,
Writing from 18-thousand feet on what promises to be a pretty chilly evening. Left at 6am with a variety of expectations. Consensus had us staying at Hans-Meyer. That looked optimistic after our first adventure on the winch. The first quarter mile took about an hour and a half. Soon thereafter we moved to the boards and picked up the pace considerably. I decided to push on past Hans-Meyer at just past 12:30.
Some of the terrain that I rode on the boards absolutely amazed me. I had thoughts of sleeping in the crater. Then we started the push past Gilman’s Point. As I rode the boards, my front wheels became light – something I thought I would only experience on slick rock.
As I covered the last 50 yards in at least a half hour, I had the vague thought that this must be what it is like to drown within reach of shore.
The days end mocked me as I attempted to reach in two to four foot increments. Bob, Nate and I are snuggled into our tent 18-thousand feet. The line of sun long departed up and the temperature is dropping, the wind rising and we are optimistic for a summit push tomorrow.
- Chris Waddell
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You can follow Chris Waddell as he attempts to be the first paraplegic to summit Mount Kilimanjaro unassisted. His blog will be updated often as he makes his way to the top of the 19,340 foot high mountain with arm power alone.
One of the coolest things about working for KEEN is all the great people and companies we get to meet and work with. Last month at Outdoor Retailer we met Chris Waddell, he’s heading off to Kilamanjaro next month, but that is just the tip of his HyrbridLife.
Check out this video clip to see why what Chris is doing is so unique:
About One Revolution
In the fall of 2009, Chris Waddell will attempt to summit Kilimanjaro. Sounds like a basic goal, until you consider that this star athlete and paralympian will conquer the 19,340 foot high mountain without the use of his legs. If successful, Waddell will become the first paraplegic to summit Kilimanjaro unassisted, the tallest freestanding mountain in the world.
Mobility represents independence and integration-something denied to the disabled in Tanzania. The One-Revolution Foundation is designing and producing a “Developing Countries Handcycle.” The intention is to create opportunity through mobility. During the 2009 climb, One-Revolution will donate wheelchairs and handcycles to Tanzanians in need. Going forward, the foundation will make bi-annual handcycle donations throughout the world. The Developing Countries Handcycle will give the recipient not only transportation, but the opportunity to participate in commerce in their own community. The handcycle technology will be shared with each community. One-Revolution will partner with a local manufacturer to make additional handcycles.