What would you tell a prospective student about ECU?
East Carolina offers an infinite amount of opportunities to expand and flourish one's personal and academic abilities. It is a university that encompasses a very unique group ... A nation of Pirates!
Is there anything at ECU you wish everyone could experience?
The feeling of speaking in front of fellow students and helping them understand that a disability does not mean inability.
Tell me more about your speaking engagements.
I basically go wherever they need me. I have spoken in intro-to-college classes and community resources classes. Just various places where they need somebody with a disability to explain how I live. I emphasize that it’s not a death sentence, really the positive psychology aspect of it. People in my situation can value life and have such a better outlook on life. I talk about various things. I talk about what I wrote about in my book. I want to help people understand that a disability does not mean inability. That we still live life to the fullest and expect the same things out of life as any able bodied person does.
You wrote a book?
It starts one year before my accident and goes through events that led up to my accident. It covers the whole hospital process, the rehab process, and how it was when I came home from the hospital. How I got very angry at myself for putting myself in a wheelchair for about a six-month period. I turned on my family. I basically went to the bottom and had to start building my way back up. I finally decided that I can sit here and do this for the rest of my life and end up in a facility or I can go back to school and make something of myself. It goes through the process of what it took to get me here where I’m at now, at East Carolina.
If someone were to pick up your book and read it, what is something you would want that person to get out of your book?
For me, my accident was the best thing that’s ever happened to me because I was not living the way I should have been before the accident. And with everything that I have been through, I am still pushing and still becoming successful even today. If I can go through what I did, anybody can go through almost anything and still get what they want out of life and be successful. You can change. It’s not set in stone that you have to live a certain way for the rest of your life. You can make a change.