COVID-19 CREATED A CALL FOR ACTION WITHIN THE DISABILITY COMMUNITY
Introducing the TEMPORARY Collection by Wheels2Walking
WHY RICHARD EMPHASISES A TEMPORARY MINDSET
“The moment anything bad happens in my life, I immediately remind myself that this is all temporary,” he shares.
“Then, when I finally make it through that challenge, I remind myself again this is temporary, even the good times,” he adds. “I am reminded daily that I might not get another chance, that these good times will fade. So I appreciate everything around me and never take things for granted.”
Richard Developed a New Mindset after Spinal Cord Injury
Unfortunately, Richard sustained his spinal cord injury while out for a jog in his neighborhood. A misstep and freak accident caused him to fall 50 feet onto concrete below, leaving him with multiple fractures and paralyzed from the waist down, plus a crushed elbow and split open sternum. Medical professionals told him he would never walk again. Initially during rehab, Richard used a power wheelchair but after years of ongoing therapy, he is now using a manual wheelchair and can walk short distances.
“When I was first injured,” Richard explains, “I had to relearn how to do everything from trial and error, constantly failing and learning what worked best for me.”
That’s why Wheels2Walking, the video movement founded by Richard and his friend Andrew Deitsch, aims to help a global community of wheelchair users learn new and better ways to enjoy life after a traumatic physical injury or condition. “We make videos for newly injured wheelchair users to help improve their quality of life and regain independence,” he shares.
More Visual Resources for Adjusting to a New Normal
The most popular video Richard has shared to date is titled, “Why I Use a Wheelchair if I Can Walk.” With more than 400,000 views on Facebook and 1.7 million views on YouTube, this hilarious short film aims to educate the general population on why people with different ranges of mobility may also intentionally use a wheelchair for getting around.
“We also subtly and playfully poke fun at people who point and stare at wheelchair users,” Richard adds with a smile.
Parting Words of Advice from Wheels2Walking
“Wheels2Walking is something I created for myself. Not my current self, but for my past self,” Richard often says to people who ask him why he works so hard creating video content. “That 20-year-old kid who had his entire future taken away from him. The kid who didn’t know how to live life in a wheelchair, who was constantly confused and constantly failing. Wheels2Walking is for him and everyone else going through the exact same thing.” If you are in a similar situation now to what Richard experienced nearly a decade ago, he has a few final words of wisdom to help guide your new normal.
“Your whole life begins to change when you start to focus on what you DO have, instead of what you DON’T have, especially during hardships,” Richard explains.
“Wear your Temporary mindset and anything that reminds you of your ability to overcome challenges with pride. Go out into the world with passion and drive, appreciating everything you have in the present moment,” he adds with a smile, as he knows that’s exactly how he approaches life too.