This is Ron with your Motivational Message:
For some reason, I felt compelled to offer a 45-minute presentation to local schools free of charge. So, we began sending out emails to principals in hopes of generating some interest. To my surprise, we received a phone call within a matter of minutes from a principal who had hosted me at his middle school 14 years earlier. Since then, he had moved and was now a high school principal in Eugene, OR. After making arrangements for me to speak at his school, he assured me that my presentation at the middle school had a great impact on the students and that he even had a Life is an Attitude hat that he purchased years ago.
When we arrived, I was ushered into a small auditorium where I set up my paintings and books. The bell rang and kids filed in. Some were a little rough-around-the-edges, and they didn’t seem all too interested in being there. However, I noticed a few kids with physical disabilities and could tell they were excited to see that their guest speaker had a physical disability, as well. I was introduced and during the first five minutes most of the kids wouldn’t even look at me, but then as if they were struck by a magic wand, they became engaged and listened intently. I spoke about turning tragedies into triumphs, losses into gains, no matter how bad circumstances were in the past. By working together to reach positive goals, a team can make the dream happen.
Following my speech, a number of students came to meet me and share stories of their own. They thanked me for giving them hope as they left: “if you can do it, Mr. Heagy, we can do it!” Their words breathed life into my weary soul. When all of the kids had gone back to class and we were preparing to leave, a young man slowly walked back into the auditorium. I could sense a heaviness. “Mr. Heagy, your…” His emotions got the best of him and he began to cry. He turned away a little and I quickly spoke up, telling him, “It’s all right, don’t walk away. It’s best to talk about these things.”
I encouraged him to talk about what was on his mind. After a couple of moments, he gained his composure and told me that he had gotten into a fight some time ago. During the fight, he was thrown to the pavement, hitting his head and breaking his neck. 10 hours later he woke up from his coma in a hospital bed. He expressed that his passion up until that point had been sports, so understandably he was devastated to be told by doctors that he could no longer be an athlete as a result of his neck injury. If he were to continue, he would be at risk of possible paralysis, living the rest of his life in a wheelchair. “I pretty much gave up,” he stated. “I felt that my life was over. Without sports, I’m a nobody.”
Looking up, the young man told me he was truly grateful to see me because, “Mr. Heagy, you don’t have the use of your hands or feet, yet you didn’t give up and accomplished many things. I came back to tell you that I’ve changed my attitude. I’m going to do something with my life.” I thanked him and on his way out I yelled, “You’ll change the world! You can do it.” He left with tears in his eyes, but a smile on his face.
A random act connected us with an old friend who proceeded to pick up my random act and pass it on to the students. The students were changed and challenged and I’m sure they will figure it out from there. I just can’t help but believe that this happens everywhere. I am grateful that the young man is not in a wheelchair, but more importantly, that he is now out of his mental and emotional wheelchair.
To your inspiration,
A note: I want to thank everyone that has supported me over the years. You have had such a huge impact on my life. Your support allows me to continue doing what I do, and for that, I could not be more grateful. My office workers/assistants are an important part of my ministry, as they act as my hands, and your support helps to cover the cost of having them. I ask that you would consider supporting Never Give Up in order to further the mission. If you would like to become one, please visit: www.rollonron.com/donate-never-give-up.php . Any amount is incredibly appreciated and needed. Thank you again!