HS Graduation Day with Connor and his caregiver Jena.

Meet Connor. He is a 20 year old young man that loves riding horses, going to baseball games and living life to the fullest. In 2017, he walked across the stage earning his high school diploma and is now taking classes at his local community college. Did we mention that he also lives with cerebral palsy and depends on a wheelchair for his mobility? Let’s hear from him on what life is like being differently abled in a world where things aren’t necessarily meant for life on wheels…

Raising Wheels: “Connor, thank you for allowing Raising Wheels™️ to get some insight into what life is like living life on wheels. How do you feel about being differently abled?”

Connor: “I tend not to view myself as differently abled, but rather as a normal person who faces different challenges. I think I’ve been able to see myself this way because my friends and family treat me like any other friend/person even though I’m in a wheelchair. For example, I went to my high school prom with a group of friends, and they didn’t make me feel separated or different in any way.”

Raising Wheels: “If a new friend asks you about why you are differently abled, what do you tell them?”

Connor: “I tell them this is how I was born, and that’s it. I usually don’t go into details about my diagnosis because I feel like that’s more personal information that I usually only share with people I trust.”

Gold Stirrup Rodeo at the Austin Rodeo. Pictured is Rachel (a former caregiver), Connor (middle) and Brice (right).

Raising Wheels: “What is one of your absolute favorite memories growing up?”

Connor: “For my 7th birthday, the Spike Mobile from the Round Rock express came to my house and picked me up to take me to the Dell Diamond! I got to go on the field with the players and get their autographs on a baseball. It was really fun and I was glad I got to spend it with my family, especially my grandmother who was a huge baseball fan.”

Raising Wheels: “Your parents have helped you in so many ways overcome a lot of challenges in your life. Tell us about one of the ways they’ve helped you be the person you are today.”

Connor: “My parents were crucial in helping me reach my goal of walking across the stage at my high school graduation. I got a standing ovation from the audience, and several of my friends told me they teared up when they saw me reach my goal. My parents helped me reach this goal by prompting me to walk in my walker whenever I had the chance to, and were always supportive of me and helping me do things I set my mind to.”

Raising Wheels: “What are some of your favorite activities?”

Connor: “I enjoy working with my caregivers on a daily basis. I also really love going to our lake house to ride our waverunner, go on boat rides, and go tubing! I also enjoy riding horses and competing in the Austin Rodeo with ROCK, and watching sports. Another activity I enjoy is competing in running races with Ainsley’s Angels.”

HS Senior Prom with Connor and his date, Maddison.

Raising Wheels: “How has your wheelchair made your life better?”

Connor: “Both my manual and my power chair make it easy for me to move around. I have the ability to push myself in my manual chair, and my power chair gives me the independence to be mobile without falling behind, I can even help serve in my church!”

Raising Wheels: “It isn’t always easy to access everywhere you want to go. Have you found places that you can’t go or activities you can’t participate in?”

Connor: “The only thing that has really come to mind is that I would love to try water skiing if I could! I feel like I am rarely limited to going certain places or doing things.”

Raising Wheels: “For anyone reading this post that might be able to make the world easier to access, what are some of the ways they can make your community easier to access?”

Connor: “I really enjoy going on power chair walks. Recently, when I went on a walk through my neighborhood, there were several curb corners where streets intersect where there were not ramps to cross from one side of the sidewalk to the next. I had to go out of my way to find a driveway to use as a ramp to cross the street! I think making paths more accessible in this way would be helpful.”

Connor with his Ainsley’s Angels running buddies at the Austin Half Marathon.

For more on Connor and his family, their story will be included in the upcoming release of the Triumph Book: Raising Wheels set to be released in Spring 2019.




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