Wes is a 29-year-old graphic designer. When Wes was 16 years old, he broke his C4 vertebrae during a motocross accident and became paralyzed. He has since gone on to give motivational speeches around the world, and continues to travel and live his life to the fullest. When he first became paralyzed he had to use a power chair and had no mobility in his arms. Twelve years ago, Wes began activity based therapy. And in 2014, he discovered NextStep Orlando and has been an active client ever since. Since discovering NextStep he is slowly making progress towards regaining control of his body and self and reclaiming his independence day-by-day. Wes has described the process of becoming paralyzed as a “humbling journey,” and has since been able to learn more about his own self and the world around him.
Wes urges people to “find what they love and really go far it, don’t ever let anything stop you from doing what you love”. Wes puts his words into practice every day by working a full-time job, traveling, and spending time with his friends and family. His journey has been one of relearning, accepting, and beginning again…
Wes explains how after he became paralyzed, he had to relearn his connection to his mind and body, and how to interact with society. He shares:
“Going from being in a crowd, I kind of always felt like I was in a protector role–like when I walked with my family, my sister. But then going from that [to a] state of being vulnerable and I can’t protect myself [it’s a] Drastic perception change being in the chair looking totally different. But it’s humbling, extremely humbling.”
Wes expresses how after his injury, he had to choose between becoming frustrated with himself, or accepting his new body and finding ways to reach his goals. He explains:
“The biggest thing was so when I first got to the hospital, you’re relearning , training, how to take care of you because it depends on your level”.
“I think in life, nothing last forever. Good or bad. So if you’re in a bad spot, the good stuff is going to come, you’ll find something.”
When Wes first became paralyzed, he compared it to the beginning of a new identity. Instead of focusing on the person he used to be, he focused instead on who he wanted to become now. He explains:
“You change from the person you were before. It’s like dying, like going to your funeral. You see the whole town so forth. You see everybody come, it’s a huge thing.”