In August 1998, Nick Scott’s life changed forever. The young  athlete on his way to football practice had his world turned upside down when a tire blew on his car and caused it to roll over five and a half times. He fractured his spine  at the T-1 vertebrae in his mid-back and the L-1 vertebrae in his low back. He was instantly a paraplegic.

After the accident, Nick had to fight hard to recover and learn to live with his new reality. But the days were long and he became discouraged. He eventually became severely depressed and often wished that the accident had just finished him off rather than leaving him in this state. His depression led to weight gain. Soon, Nick saw his weight balloon to over 300 pounds.

Trying for a little normalcy in his life, Nick went back to the gym to try lifting weights, which was a passion of his prior to the accident. At first, he was discouraged watching other people being able to do many exercises  that he could no longer do in his wheel chair. But then he tried the bench press. To his amazement, he could still bench press a significant amount of weight even though he had to adjust his

Bench-pressing gave him some confidence and allowed him to focus on new goals. He decided that he could still attempt to be stronger than anyone else. Nick became a weight lifter and then a power lifter. Ultimately, this led him to the world of wheel chair body building and after his first show in March 2006, he set out on a mission to tell the whole world about the sport. He has become the poster child for wheel -chair bodybuilding.

 Nick’s philosophy on life is quite inspiring. “The way I see  it,” said Nick, “I believe I am in the wheelchair for a reason. God had a different path for my life and he chose me to go through what I have for a
reason. The man I have become has affected so many people's lives and they have affected others. It is like tossing a stone into the water and starting a  ripple. The day of my accident I was given a gift—a gift of a second chance at life. Instead of wishing things could be different, I am grateful to be given another chance and I will live my life. After going through everything I have gone through, I know firsthand how precious life is and how quickly your life can change. It doesn't matter if my glass is half-empty or half-full; I am just
grateful I have a glass.”

 Now, as a professional author and speaker, in addition to the body building, Nick uses his enthusiasm and life experiences to inspire other people. He wants to give hope to others that they, too, have the strength to
overcome challenges if they just trust in God and harness their inner-strength. To learn more about Nick, go to his website: www.nickfitness.com

Lizzie Velasquez was born with a medical condition so rare that there are just two other known cases of it in the world. She is unable to create muscle, store energy or gain weight due to having no adiopose tissue in her body. At the age of 23, she weighs only 60 pounds and has zero percent body fat. She is blind in one eye and has limited vision in the other eye. The condition is so rare, that it is technically undiagnosed.

Struggling with this her whole life, things became worse as she progressed through school. The stares were bad enough, but the teasing, comments and bullying only increased as she continued through each grade. By high school, Lizze was named “The World’s Ugliest Woman” in an 8-second long You Tube video posted by a cruel classmate. Even worse, the comments to the video called her a “monster” and suggested that she kill herself.

After that video was posted, Lizzie set four goals for her life: (1) graduate college; (2) build a career and family; (3) publish a book; and (4) become a motivational speaker. By the age of 23, Lizzie had been a motivational speaker for seven years and she has given over 200 seminars on dealing with bullies, overcoming challenges and embracing your own uniqueness. She is majoring in communications at Texas State University and she has already written two books, Lizzie Beautiful (2010) and Be Beautiful, Be You  (2013).

 Per Lizzie: “Some days, life doesn’t make sense. You just have to change what you can, ask for help and pray about the rest. I’m at the point where instead of sitting by and watching people judge me, I’m starting to want to go up to these people and introduce myself or give them my card and say, ‘Hi I’m Lizzie. Maybe you should stop staring and start learning.’”

Regarding the bullying and awful comments, Lizzie notes: “I didn’t sink to their level. Instead, I got my revenge through my accomplishments and determination. In the battle between the “World’s Ugliest Woman” video vs. me, I think I won.”

Lizzie is truly an inspiration with the way she perseveres and  with her determined life philosophy. She is using her unique situation in life to inspire others and make the world a better place. To learn more about Lizzie, go to her website: www.aboutlizzie.com

In honor of Father’s Day, I thought I would share this heart-warming story of Andy and Jack Hoffman from earlier this year. Jack is a 7 year old brain cancer patient in Nebraska. He had two surgeries and a 60 week schedule of chemotherapy over two years since the diagnosis in 2011. While on a break from his chemotherapy treatment, he went with his father for a special
treat offered to them from the University of Nebraska during their football spring game in April. 

Jack’s father, Andy, thought that they would just get to go down to the field, meet some players and get some autographs. But the Cornhuskers had something else in mind. On the final play of the game, Nebraska brought in Jack as a running back on fourth and one. After the snap, Jack took the ball from his
own 31 yard line and ran it 69 yards into the end zone in front of 60,000+ fans. 
“It is a lot of emotions all at once,” Andy said about watching his son score the touchdown. Check out this wonderful video above of the day Jack scored the winning touchdown for the Red squad. 

But the Hoffman’s story doesn’t begin nor end with this football game. Andy has been on a mission to educate the country about pediatric cancer. He notes that most of the 13,500 cases of pediatric cancer diagnosed each year have archaic therapy strategies that are older than 25 years.

 “I don’t know why God chose Jack to have this,” said Andy, “but I do know that we can do something good out of it and that is to promote the improvement of the treatments for the disease. This isn’t about Jack. It’s not about us. It’s about the old archaic treatment regimens that America needs to do something about. God
picked our family to deal with this and we’re going to do the right thing.”

 For more information about what Jack goes through on a day-to-day basis with his chemotherapy, read this inspiring article: http://www.omaha.com/article/20130417/HUSKERS/704179785&template=mobileart

See more about Jack's story in the video below.

Janine Shepherd had her life upended in a single moment. Back in  1986, she was a world class cross-country skier who was training for the winter Olympics. While on a bicycling training exercise, she was struck by a speeding utility truck and she was injured quite badly. She had to be air-lifted to the hospital where she had surgery to her L1 vertebrae, which had been smashed to pieces. She also suffered a broken neck and lost five litres of blood.

Doctors performed multiple surgeries over the following months and ultimately told her that she was a partial paraplegic. They told her that she would be bound to a wheel chair for the rest of her life and that she would not be able to bear children. Obviously, her Olympic dreams were also dashed.
Her life was completely changed from that moment on.

Unwilling to be held back, Janine became determined to learn to walk again after one of her surgeries was successful in giving her some feeling in her lower body. She then began the long process of rehabilitation to learn how to walk again. She also went in a full body cast to begin flying lessons so that she could obtain her pilot license. Janine decided that she would move forward with her life doing whatever she could to continue on.

Said Janine:  “Although my body was limited, my spirit was unstoppable. It wasn’t until I let go of the life I felt I should have that  I embraced.” Within 18 months, Janine not only had her pilot license, but she
received her pilot training license and began teaching others to fly.  She walks with a limp, but is able to
walk and she also has three children.

 Now, Janine spends her time as a motivational speaker sharing her story world-wide. She has authored four books about her ordeal in order to inspire others. The first book, called Never Tell Me Never, was actually turned into a TV movie. She has been a torch bearer at the 2000 Summer Paralympics in Sydney and she was also named one of the Ten Outstanding Young People in the world by JCI in 1998.

 See her Ted talk called: A Broken Body Isn’t a Broken Person below.