Young model’s journey living with Locked-in Syndrome.

In 1995, at the young age of 21, the beautiful up and coming model Kati Lepisto suffered a stroke that left her completely paralyzed with only the use of her eyes. Kati suffers from a condition called Locked-in Syndrome which is usually described as being locked in the prison of your own body. Although her brain is fully functioning intellectually, the connection from her brain to her muscles is damaged leaving her paralyzed.

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Although it has been over 20 years, Kati continues to set goals for herself all the while staying positive. She has learned to communicate with her loved ones using her eyes and a letter board. You can see her demonstrate in this TedTalks video.

Kati was angry, depressed and frustrated when she first suffered the stroke. However, she has found ways to adapt and move forward in her life in a fulfilling way. Each and every day she wakes up, gets dressed in nice clothes, does her makeup and hair and enjoys the day to the fullest. Here are the seven ingredients Kati lives by to prevail and progress in spite of being paralyzed:

  1. Positive attitude – Come rain or shine always have a positive attitude! Your life is in your own hands, you cannot control the world and what others say and do but you can control your own actions. Always be positive!
  2. Passion – Whatever you do, put your heart into it and do it with passion. Do not waste your time waiting for motivation or a miracle to come your way, get up, dress up and show up, no matter what, this discipline will get you to where you want to go.
  3. Determination – Dream big and do not hold anything back. Keep focused on the possibilities and do not let boundaries define your life. You cannot be the best at everything but you can always be the best you can be. Always aim high but never forget to be humble.
  4. Perseverance – Your dreams are waiting for you so do not ever give up! Life is full of problems and difficulties, we always try our best to change what we can but there are times when this is just impossible. We need to be able to accept, adapt, and reinvent ourselves out of such obstacles.
  5. Communication – Speak out and express yourself but remember to also listen and do your best to understand what is being expressed to you. Share not just your thoughts but also your emotions.
  6. Humor – Laughter is the best medicine not just for the body but also for the soul. Aside from love, humor is the best remedy to heal a human soul. Humor is like air; it is free and can be found in any situation. The ultimate remedy is to learn to laugh at our silly selves and at the silly things we do.
  7. Take action – Be flexible yet steady, be firm but still compassionate. There may come a time when you ask yourself, what is the meaning of life, well the answer is very simple – the meaning of life is to live a meaningful life! How to do this? Well, stop dreaming about what kind of person you want to be and what kind of life you want to live and start taking action! Start being the person you want to be and start living the life you want to live.

Michelle Wolfe

www.Aim2Walk.ca
www.facebook.com/Aim2Walk
www.Twitter.com/Aim2Walk
www.Instagram.com/Aim2Walk

Wheelchair Stunt Man

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Aaron Fotheringham, aka Wheelz, is inspiring people around the world, especially people who use wheelchairs to mobilize. He travels with Nitrus Circus riding WCMX (Wheelchair Motocross.) Wheelz was born with Spinabifida and his doctors told him he would forever need assistance from others to get around and to survive. He has definitely showed them wrong and created his own destiny and legacy. As Wheelz says, “you’re only as disabled as you feel” which is surely the attitude that enables him to hit so many ramps and jumps while using his wheelchair. The way he goes about his day to day is equally as inspiring. He’s able to go up and down stairs with his chair, take escalators and hop in and out of a vehicle without hesitation. There are endless videos of him training and performing dangerous jumps all over YouTube. Here are a few videos that would inspire anyone with any type of mobility!

Wheelchair skatboarding trickster.

His story,

Michelle Wolfe
www.Aim2Walk.ca
www.facebook.com/Aim2Walk
www.Instagram.com/Aim2Walk
www.Twitter.com/Aim2Walk

 

ReelAbilities Film Festival Opens in Toronto

Unknown-2.pngThe month of May is an exciting month to be downtown Toronto. A few weeks ago I wrote about Tangled Art Gallery, opening May 4th displaying art and disability. I also shared the exciting addition of several featured documentaries providing described video technology for the deaf at this years International Documentary Festival (Hot Docs) from April 28th-May 8th.

In addition there is the opening for the ReelAbilities Film Festival (RAFF) from May 12th-19th. Toronto is scheduled to launch the first annual edition of RAFF.
This is the largest film festival in North America dedicated to promoting the awareness and appreciation of lives, stories and art of people with disabilities.

The Festival will take place in 13 other cities across the United States with Toronto being the first city in Canada. RAFF showcases films, conversations and artistic programs to explore, embrace, and celebrate the diversity of our shared human experience.

With tickets only $12 and 14 different public screenings and panel discussions to choose from, there is sure to be something to appeal to everyone. Visit the ticket box office and book your shows now. https://tytix.tiff.net/scripts/max/10.17.40.32-34000/maxweb.exe

Michelle Wolfe, RMT
www.Aim2Walk.ca
www.facebook.com/Aim2Walk
www.Instagram.com/Aim2Walk
www.Twitter.com/Aim2Walk