Pick a Friend’s Nose?

This is Ron with your Motivational Message:

What do you do when you’re in the middle of a big presentation and your nose starts to run, snot slowly dripping down to your lip? Paralyzed from my neck down, my first thought was to lick it clean, but that wouldn’t make a good impression on my audience—a group of 3rd graders.

This past week I presented to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. It was another awesome opportunity to share with the brave men and women who work hard to keep our streets and communities safe. I can’t imagine the various attitudes they must face. I’d like to thank my buddy, Ed, who made it possible for me to speak for 2 hours.

Because I had an open day during my trip, I had sent out a message to you all asking anyone to contact me if there was a need for a speaker during that time. Not more than a week before the speech, Natalie, a long-time supporter of mine reached out to me. For 10 years, she had been hoping for a presentation at her small Christian school in Chino Hills, but was unable to arrange one due to lack of funds.

As destiny would have it, the speech for the Sheriff’s Department was only a 5 mile drive from Heights Christian School. Even more miraculous, the only day I had free was the day Natalie was responsible for chapel. It’s hard to deny how amazing it was that this lined up so perfectly. Los Angeles County is quite large, and I thank God that we were brought together.

Rolling into the packed chapel of parents and students, I instantly felt a connection. The audience laughed and cried as I described my experiences. “Somebody else brushed my teeth, combed my hair, shaved my face, bathed me, dressed me, and put me in my chair so I could be here. We need each other,” I said, “We’re a team.” Hoping that my words created pictures in their mind, I described the struggles I must overcome on a daily basis.

Suddenly I felt a trickle of liquid exit my nose, rapidly approaching my lip. “Oh, no, what do I do?” I thought. Should I lick it and gross out the kids or stop my speech? The moment was right; I stopped my speech. I blurted out, “Well, like I said, somebody helps me with everything and now I need somebody to wipe the boogers off my lip.” The kids gasped as if I was calling them forward. Natalie grabbed a tissue and quickly proceeded to the front. She wiped my nose, giving my nostrils a good squeeze, I broke the ice. “You can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose…unless you’re my friend. Anyone else want to be my friend?” I asked. The children broke out in laughter. I had given them permission to laugh, and given an appropriate visual example of how helpless we can all find ourselves.

Following the speech, the parents bought out my entire stock of books. I spent the next hour signing and talking with the kids. That night, Natalie brought me dozens of letters that the kids had written me. I read touching words, such as “Mr. Heagy, you changed my life,” “I was amazed at what you could do,” and “I can make a difference.” It was a powerful reminder. In the midst of my struggles, my life has value and an impact on the lives of children.

What were the chances of me being there on that particular day and needing my nose wiped for the first time during any of my speeches in the past? God worked out all things for the good and it reminded me to take one day at a time. So relax, do what you can and don’t sweat the small stuff. Our world can be a mess and it’s easy to get stuck on what we should do rather than what we are doing. Thanks for being my friend, and just think, you could be the next one to help me out. Tomorrow will be a better day. Now go pick your friend’s nose.

By the way, as Natalie told me, “The teachers were amazed that I wiped your nose because they all know that I’m a germophobe. Your snotty nose was meant to change me.”

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To your inspiration,


In Time for the Holidays

This is Ron with my newest painting!

Can you believe it is already fall? In preparation for the coming holiday season I painted a Christmas surprise. This new piece is now available as a signed and numbered print and also on stretched canvas for purchase. It makes a wonderful gift for anyone, especially for someone with a special little furry friend.


If you are interested in placing an order for this print, please contact the Never Give Up Office at ( ). The price of an 11″ x 14″ print is $25.00 and the 12″ x 16″ stretched canvas is $59.00.

To your inspiration,


It’s All Good

This is Ron with your Motivational Message:

I once sat on a beach in Hawaii, mesmerized by the beauty of the sunset. Watching the magnificent colors burst across the sky, I thought to myself, “I’ve been here before.” That’s when it dawned on me; years ago I had painted a sunset. A place I could to return to when things got dark and dreary in my life. Now, years later, I sat watching that very image unfold before my eyes.

If you have trouble viewing the video, please click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=–DhZZFvCIc&feature=youtu.be

May all of your dreams be fulfilled. In the chaos of your mind, please remember to ponder a peaceful place. You never know, it may become a reality. God is good to those who wait for him.


To your inspiration,


9/11 We Remember

This is Ron with your Motivational Message:

It is hard to believe that it has been thirteen years since I rolled down the empty, ghostly streets of New York City following the collapse of the World Trade Center towers. I was reminded of how suddenly life can change. How, within a matter of minutes, your entire future can be altered.

On September 10th, 2001, we flew into New York City. I had been invited to share at the launch of a television series created by Martin Luther King, Jr. III. “Wisdom of Dreams” featured stories of people whose lives exemplified the drive to make dreams come true. Unfortunately, on the morning of September 11th instead of celebration there was sudden tragedy. We witnessed the terrifying event and saw the towers crumble to the ground. Thousands of lives were lost and many more were affected drastically. We watched as chaos unfolded and fire trucks pass, never to return.

I recall a radio commentator who was interviewing an individual that had miraculously escaped using the stairwell in one of the towers. I could not help but cry as he described the people who were left in their wheelchairs, stranded at the landings unable to access the elevator and no one to get them down the stairs. I wondered, as many did, why so many innocent people must suffer and die.

I was engulfed by sadness when my family and I realized we were still alive and there was a reason why we all are live today. May we never forget the fond memories of loved ones who are no longer with us and those that made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. But, as they would tell you if they could, live your life to the fullest, pursue your dreams, enjoy your family, value your life. I realize that there are many reasons to lose heart and that too many people have given up, but I know one thing: we are not dead yet. As long as we are alive, life is worth living. We can make a difference with God’s help and the support of those around us regardless of our past or how difficult our circumstances. Together, we can change the world and make it a better place.

On a lighter note, it was four years ago on September 11th that a team of dream-building friends and myself completed a seemingly impossible task. With their ambition and support, I drove a ’68 Firebird without assistance and topped 100 mph using only my head and teeth. Although it was a thrill and an amazing accomplishment, it was intended to encourage all those wonderful soldiers who fought for our country and came home wounded. It was a message to never give up; each life has purpose, take one day at a time and believe you can achieve. Today I have a new dream. I challenge Sam Schmidt (http://www.spmindycar.com/team-owners/sam-schmidt/), a fellow quad, to a race in order to raise money and awareness for spinal cord injury.


In closing, I ask you to take a moment and pray for our country, our warriors, our family and friends. Pray for encouragement and strength to stand united in spite of our differences. Let’s fight hard to keep our freedom that so many take for granted. Your life has value. Thank you for your friendship.

To your inspiration,


Judge Not

This is Ron with your Motivational Message:

I was recently reminded of how easy it is to pass judgment on our fellow man. I think that too often we place ourselves above others, even if it isn’t a conscious act. However, as the Good Book says, “Judge not, lest ye be judged.”


Gracie has really enjoyed riding her bike this summer, so I took her to a nearby park to ride the trail and practice turning and balancing. As soon as I turned my attention away, I heard a noise. Sure enough, the chain on her bike had popped off and she was now riding without brakes. Luckily, she was in the grass and quickly figured out how to come to a safe stop. Later that night, Gracie and I were in the garage so I could teach her how to loosen bolts and adjust the chain by herself. 40 minutes later, with a lot of patience on her part (i.e., finding the correct size wrench, holding the tires, putting in the bolts) the chain was back in place.

The next day we returned to the park to put her mechanical abilities to the test. The chain remained firmly in place, making it a successful repair job. One our way back, we walked past a park bench where a woman, who appeared to be homeless, sat. Her eyes were black and blue and her face was covered by an allergy mask. She looked so very sad and lonely. Something in my spirit told me to stop and say ‘hi,’ but my mind thought better of it and instead I rolled on by.

Not long after, I began to regret what I had done. I had passed judgment unjustly and even worse, had set a bad example for my daughter. Realizing my mistake, I told Gracie the right thing would have been to at least say ‘hello.’ We all need and want companionship and approval from others, and yet we don’t take a few seconds out of our crazy life to show someone that we care. My avoidance of this woman was based solely on an unfair judgment. She was of no threat to Gracie or myself, I just didn’t want to take the time to acknowledge her.

Although I taught my daughter how to fix her bike, I missed an opportunity to teach her a lesson in compassion.

May we be quick to love and take time to brighten another person’s day.

Speaking of sharing compassion…

Looks like I will be returning to the Los Angeles area for another outreach opportunity in mid-October and am hoping to fill a few more days with speeches elsewhere. So, to all of my friends in Southern California, if you or someone you know happens to be looking for an encouraging presentation that is sure to change lives please let me know! Whether it be a school assembly, a corporate get-together, or any other event I guarantee that my story will make an impact. I have a wide range of topics that I can cover and can cater to all age groups and all backgrounds, secular or religious.

Please contact the Never Give Up office at heagyoffice@gmail.com if you are interested. Please let me know the name of your organization or group and what days you may have available.

I hope to see you in October!

To your inspiration,

LA Bittersweet

This is Ron with your Motivational Message:

The ocean sparkled as we gazed out from the Huntington Beach pier. We could see surfers among the breakers. A flood of memories filled my soul; it was a bittersweet moment. “Girls, this is where my life both ended and began,” I said.

Some months ago, I received a call from a gentleman named Ed who coordinates conferences for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. To my surprise, he had been using my short promotional video as a motivational tool for LA officers. “Your video has made more of an impact on their attitudes than anything else, particularly because of your motto ‘I’m paralyzed from the neck down, what’s your excuse?” he told me. I was flattered to hear that, of course. His encouraging words came at a much needed time.

During our conversation, Ed extended an invitation to me to present to the Sheriff’s Department in person. A bonus being that it was during Summer Break so I would be able to bring my two daughters along.

We were greeted warmly by a group of officers and administration after driving for 40 minutes in heavy Los Angeles traffic. With all eyes on me and the cameras rolling, I felt instantly accepted. I was presenting to individuals who have seen some of life’s worst circumstances.

I told my stories, focusing on purpose, perspective, potential, planning, and lots of persistence. I wrapped up my speech by emphasizing that in the midst of life’s darkest moments, we still have control of our attitude. I challenged them, along with myself, to get better and not bitter. I closed by inviting my girls to come forward for a question and answer session. They, of course, stole the show. The conference ended with laughter and a sense of hope.

During lunch with a few officers and their family, I noticed that one young man hugging a young girl that I learned was his sister. I was so taken by it that I said, “You must really love her.” “Yes, she and my mom were the only things that got me through the five years I spent fighting overseas. I realized how many things I took for granted.” He replied. I told him what a blessing he was and thanked him for his service and asked “Is there anything that you want to share with me?” He stared right into my eyes as if he was waiting for that question. He stammered through his tears, “I want to thank you, Ron. I’m not an emotional man.” I reassured him, “It’s cool and very manly to admit to emotions.” “I just want to thank you for demonstrating with your life and your struggles. Now I, too, feel that I can proceed with confidence and hope.”

That evening, I brought the girls to Huntington Beach where I re-lived the accident. As we sat watching the sun set, I told them that I was so glad that they could see where my life abruptly changed 32 years ago. I wanted them to know that I wouldn’t change a thing about what happened that day because without the tragic accident I would not have two beautiful daughters and the experience with the LA officers.

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A thought for the day: don’t let circumstances, pain, or problems with the past destroy you. Like orange juice, some of the sweetest moments occur when our dreams are crushed. From that, something new is created. Keep believing!

To your inspiration,


You can view my presentation to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department:

If you cannot see the video, please click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6RCSbCy23s&feature=youtu.be

For Father’s Day

This is Ron with your Motivational Message:

“I can’t imagine my son becoming paralyzed; how devastating it would be.”

This past week I have attended a few graduation ceremonies, one of which was for my nephew, Zack. Zack is the son of my little brother, Mike, the one who pulled me from the surf 34 years ago. It’s crazy; Zack is now the age I was when Mike saved my life. During the celebration, I sat watching these young men jumping into this small pool and rough-housing with one another around it. I yelled, “Be careful, don’t dive in head-first! You could end up paralyzed like me.” One of the fathers overheard me and said, “I can’t imagine my son becoming paralyzed; how devastating it would be.” We talked for awhile, and as we spoke, flashes of my father’s face went through my mind.

Ron Heagy, Sr. for 34 years has patiently cared for me; bathing, dressing, toileting, changing catheters, feeding me, hugging me, holding me through pain, trials, and tears. Even though my father and I butt heads from time to time, he continues to amaze me. Dad has always been there when I needed him and has never given up on me. He has given me much-needed support, believing in my capabilities and encouraging me to conquer seemingly impossible dreams. I have always known that no matter what, my father would do pretty much anything to ensure my health, safety and success.

Now that I’m a father to Roni, 14, and Gracie, 9, I realize how much my dad sacrificed for his family. I want to thank him for not giving up and being there for the past 34 years of my life. He has given me the gift of true fatherhood in spite of all the trials he has endured.

Dad, I want to tell you and the world how incredibly grateful I am for giving me unconditional love. I love you, happy Father’s Day.

I challenge all of my male friends out there to say something to your father on this very special day. Statistically, fathers are not celebrated on Father’s Day in comparison to Mother’s Day. Let’s change that. God bless all of the fathers out there. You are important and this is your day. Thank you for all you do and may your heart be filled with love.

Gracie, Me, and Dad

Gracie, Me, and Dad

To your inspiration,


Reap What You Sow

This is Ron with your Motivational Message

I was working on my vineyard painting and thinking of what I could share with my friends that might be encouraging. I was hoping for a word of inspiration when it dawned on me that I had received some beautiful letters recently from a group of 8th graders. As I read through their heartfelt expressions of the impact that I had on their lives, I couldn’t help but think of you and all those who have prayed for me. It takes a team to make a dream come true, so these letters are for you, as well as myself. Oh, and by the way, they were HAND-written. Shocking, isn’t it, when most teens only text message. Unfortunately, I don’t have enough space to post all of them, but here are a few. May your heart be filled with hope.

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To your inspiration,


Please click on the images to enlarge them. The students names have been censored to protect their privacy.







She Changed My Heart

This is Ron with your Motivational Message:

“Mr. Heagy, I want to tell you that your speaking touched my life.” expressed a young lady as tears rolled down her face. I responded, “You have no idea how much you just impacted my heart.”


Have you ever had one of those weeks where you wondered if the chaos of everyday life is really worth it? Ever feel that you try so hard and yet your soul lacks peace and your mind is clouded? I was having one of those weeks when out-of-the-blue I had an experience that broke through my mental fog.

Last Friday, I was given the unique opportunity to speak to over 500 students, grades 5 through 8, in Junction City, Oregon. It was not only hot that day, but I was running late and felt frustrated with the crazy drivers on the highway. When I arrived I had no time to prepare my mind before heading to the gymnasium. The Principal told me that I had an hour of presentation time, and my first reaction was, “You have to be kidding me.” My biggest nightmare is to lose my audience. Principal Young introduced me and I rolled out into the stuffy gymnasium full of easily unimpressed, high energy kids.

I had time for a quick prayer and asked the good Lord for some help. To my surprise, I felt clear-headed and at peace. I told all of my usual stories to the students, highlighting the importance of communication and sharing your life with others. I asked them what their emotional, educational, and relationship “wheelchairs” looked like, leaving a pause. I could sense a heavy burden that many of these children carried.

After I took the audience on an emotional rollercoaster, I ended with the hilarious story of my brother getting revenge on me one day in the mall many years ago. He had strapped a 40EE bra around my entire wheelchair as he laughed, “That’s what you get for beating me up all of those years!” The kids busted up as they applauded.

I rolled over to my display table as hundreds of kids walked past and with gratitude told me their own stories. I could write about each one, but one small girl touched me most. She had waited until everyone had exited the gym so she could speak to me. “Mr. Heagy, I wanted you to know when I was four, I had cancer and I almost died and when I heard you telling your story I decided that I wasn’t going to hide mine. I’m not afraid to talk about my cancer anymore.” The principal had overheard the conversation and approached, giving her shoulder a soft squeeze. “I didn’t even know,” he said. I reminded her how special she was and asked if I could give her a copy of my book. With a smile, she responded, “You would do that for me?” Yesterday I sent her a signed copy of my autobiography, and have not been able to get her out of my mind. I can label that experience as one of pure joy.

I encourage you if you have one of those weeks, say a quick prayer, and anticipate a life changing moment somewhere. May you have a wonderful fun-filled Memorial weekend as you reflect on the gifts that were given by those who have gone before us. May we never forget the freedom that we enjoy.

To your inspiration,


Sometimes Life Dumps on You

This is Ron with your Motivational Message:

Sometimes life dumps on you and you have two choices: you can be negative or positive, bitter or better, give it up or pick it up. This was my message to nearly two hundred eighth grade students at North Albany Middle School yesterday. As I delivered my 45 minute speech, I was pleased by the attentiveness of the students as they related to my stories. I could sense their struggles as I observed their body language.

After the assembly I sat with the students to chat. The teens surrounded me with their cell phones to take “selfies” and group photos. They told me their own stories which confirmed to me, the need for encouraging presentations like mine. One young lady shared her heart and her troubles, telling me that the speech made her laugh and cry. She said, “You can ask my friends, I don’t cry.” She had identified with my statement about our “emotional wheelchairs” the most and expressed how very grateful she was for the presentation.

I left with a smile on my face, realizing that this old guy can still reach the heart of teens.

I lost my smile, however, later in the day when life dumped on me. I had taken Gracie to her gymnastics class and was sitting with the other parents when a call came in. A man was asking about my wheelchair-accessible van, which my caregiver had driven to Fred Meyer. I immediately felt anxious—what could it be? Was he calling because there was an accident? There were so many scenarios. I didn’t expect him to say what he said next, though. He had witnessed a large suitcase fall out of the trunk of my van and into the Fred Meyer parking lot and was now calling to return it to me. Luckily, the suitcase had an old airport tag on it with my address and phone number! The man was even so kind as to meet me at the building the gymnastics class was held in to drop it off. I felt so relieved. The suitcase was the one I take to speaking engagements and had hundreds of dollars of merchandise in it. It would have been a great loss.

It’s amazing how bad situations can turn around so quickly. God bless the kindness of strangers. This Good Samaritan brought the smile back to my face.

Speaking of smiles, I want to thank you, my friend, for your prayers and support. You make it possible for me to give presentations like the one at North Albany. You allow me to reach the youth in our public schools, and send a little positivity their way.

Be Positive!

Be Positive!

To your inspiration,


Hey, That Hurts!

This is Ron with your Motivational Message:

Most of you that know me are familiar with my love of the sun. You could say that I’m “solar powered.” I love to be outdoors, particularly when I can bask in the sun’s warm rays. Unfortunately, there are consequences to such sun exposure. Wrinkles and dark spots appear, some of which don’t seem to heal. As a result of my denial that the sun’s rays were negatively affecting me, I found myself sitting in the waiting area of the dermatologist with three small blemishes on my face.

After a thorough examination, the doctor informed me that I had a couple pre-cancerous spots. One of which she could burn off and two that she would need to remove with incisions. When the nurse came in with a needle in one hand and a smile on her face she said, “This may hurt a little.” I responded, “You must enjoy this.” She assured me that she did not, but continued to smile. “If you don’t like it, then why are you smiling?” I asked. She smiled again and steadied the needle, “Well, this may hurt a lot.” As the needle punctured the skin on the side of my nose I felt like I would jump out of my chair. It’s a good thing that I’m always strapped in!

The doctor walked in to perform the incision and she had a grin on her face, as well. I said, “If she’s Pain 1, then you must be Pain 2.” They both laughed, but with the stinging that I was experiencing, now under the knife, I was not finding any humor in the situation. The spots were cut or burned out and as I rolled back into the waiting area with bandages on my face, I turned and jokingly said to the smiling ladies, “You may want to have more empathy.” Although their humor seemed to be at my expense, I did find their positive attitude made the experience less painful.

The smiles and laughter at the dermatologist’s office helped remind me how much of an impact our attitude makes on those around us. Maybe you can recall a tense time that was made pleasant by someone’s smile and positive perspective. I would hope that after someone is around me they, too, feel lifted and encouraged by my smile.

What if we smiled more? Watch the reaction of those whom you smile at. A smile can be like rays of warm sunshine caressing the heart and lifting the soul.

If you have trouble viewing the video please visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ejeBS1dmjM&feature=youtu.be

To your inspiration,


Painting with Gracie

This is Ron with your Motivational Message:

Today my daughter, Gracie, joined me in the gallery and we painted a fairy sitting on a flower. In the middle of the chaos of doing this and that, it was very relaxing to spend time with her and work on a project together. It will be one of the more memorable times in my life, and I will cherish it for years to come.

I hope that you enjoy this short video!

(If you cannot view the video from the main blog page, please click on the title of this post and video will appear or visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72YAqxh_4VQ&feature=youtu.be)

I encourage you in your craziness to slow down and smell the flowers.

To your inspiration,