Ever Faced Adversity And Not Only Survived But Turned That Into A Positive?

Monday, February 22, 2010

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Our company, Polaris Media Group has just experienced our first ever “Live Foundation Event” which was held on the Gold Coast this week-end!

I would very much like to share with you my experience of this event, so hang on and let’s get this rockin’ & rollin’ !
We had three awe inspiring speakers for the day. First came Scott Burrows who found himself in a wheel chair, age 19. Like all teenagers, he and his friends were celebrating their graduation on the beach, drinking, having a blast with mates…. Scott got in the car with a mate and went searching for more firewood to keep their bonfire going throughout the night. Obviously they had all had way too much to drink, and they lost control of their vehicle. Scott woke up in the hospital surrounded by doctors and nurses, and was told he had severed his spinal cord in the accident and would never walk again. This man on stage was so emotional thinking back to that tragic day, he cried, we were spell bound by his story and deeply moved to the point there was not a dry eye in the room.

Imagine, if you will, at age 19 being told your life as you knew it, had changed beyond belief. Your whole life was ahead of you, dreams of the future, getting married, having kids, playing sport……….. No, that is NOT what is going happen.
Scott was told he would never walk again. Devastating news. He had other plans! No one was going to tell him what his life would be like, no-one! His journey is a truly awe inspiring story of a man’s belief, commitment, tenacity, drive & sheer determination to prove he could overcome severe adversity, and live a powerful life, regain control, achieve his goals, live life on his terms, and have the belief in himself, one day he would walk again! He ended his presentation by getting out of his wheel-chair! What a moment. There was not a dry eye in the room!

Our next speaker was Oz Sanchez. He grew up in abject poverty, barely having enough to eat, let alone attend school. His mother had severe depression and a drinking problem, which led to many, many beatings for Oz and his siblings. His father was never home, working two jobs to keep their heads above water and pretty much just survive. His early years therefore , were very painful, distressing and disheartening. His three other brothers had nervous breakdowns in their early childhood. Oz didn’t succumb to the illness. His way of coping was to get on his bike and cycle and cycle to relieve all the pent up tensions of his daily life. Oz was continually told by his mother, his teacher’s, that he would not amount to anything. Fancy being told that at such an early age? It was drummed into him by so many people, that he started believing what he was told. He joined street gangs and thugs, robbed convenience stores, was involved in drive-by shootings…. You get the picture.
Shortly after this, Oz met a girl and they planned to marry. That was before his horrific accident that left him a paraplegic. His fiancé was still madly in love with him and didn’t take no for an answer so they got married. Oz found it very difficult to come to terms with the fact he would never walk again, never have the freedom of choice of able bodied people. He struggled daily, turning to booze, drugs, violence. He immersed himself at home, becoming a hermit, spending everyday by himself, while his wife was at work. He became increasing morose, depressed, angry, violent and abusive. Consequently his wife left him for her own sanity, truly believing if she did, he would shock him into action.
Finally, the law caught up to Oz and he was hulled in front of a judge. Oz had a bad attitude towards authority. He flaunted the rules, trying to con his way out of doing time, thought he was smarter than the rest, and could worm his way out of jail by threatening violence. Fortunately for Oz the judge was smarter and gave him an alternative to jail. Join the marines and your sentence will be waived. The turning point for Oz was finding out the two men he befriended in hospital, had committed suicide.
Oz joined the marines, still flaunting authority, but soon met his mentor who encouraged, supported and literally turned his life around. He soon moved up the ranks and then transferred to the Navy Seals. He was well respected by his peers, went back to school and graduated from college. He found life again, he began living again, setting goals for himself, believing in himself, knowing he could prove the nansayers wrong. He started getting involved again in his love of cycling. He did not let his disability affect his life. He competed in a race known as the toughest race on earth- “Sadlers Alaska Challenge” This course winds through the mountain passes of Denali National Park between Fairbanks and Anchorage. It is a journey of discovery, of strength and endurance. It is also a message to countless individuals with physical limitations worldwide. This race is a message of hope to disabled individuals on exactly what can be achieved through sheer grit and determination. This course is 267 miles long, for six days, on three wheels , through mountains and rugged terrain, and the one goal is to survive! Needless to say, Oz won this race and went on to win a Gold Medal at the Beijing Para Olympic Games in 2008. His story is truly inspiring.

Our next speaker was from Australia. His name is Paul. I won’t say his last name but believe me, this man is a superstar. My immediate feeling when he came on stage was one of embarrassment and shame that I had never heard of this fellow Aussie. He was hit by a car in a fleeting moment, years ago by a motorist who didn’t stop and assist. He was left a paraplegic as a result. His story takes us back to the toughest race on earth- “The Sadlers Alaska Challenge” This man didn’t allow adversity to get in the way of him living and enjoying his passions. This man didn’t bemoan the hand that was dealt to him. Instead, he set his sights on turning his handicap into a positive. How you may ask, is being in a wheel-chair a positive? What are the alternatives for some-one destined to spend the rest of their lives chained to a wheel-chair. For most of us, that would be enough to send us over the brink. Not so our fellow countryman. He has competed in the Alaska Challenge for over five years and has conquered the mountains and achieved his dream of not only winning the race once, but year after year, after year. He is a true inspiration and a leader in our community, and I know for myself, I feel very humbled by this person.

What on earth have we got to complain about? The common thread with all of our speakers was, when faced with terrible adversity, these individuals stopped feeling sorry for themselves, tapped into great reserves of strength and true grit and overcame their disabilities.

In closing, I would like to say this experience has humbled me, made me look into my mind and heart and realize the real heroes in our society are the ones who have been faced with terrible adversity, and managed to turn a negative situation into a positive life. I applaud these people and I am so in awe of their mindset to achieve the impossible.

“Many of us know some-one in a wheelchair. But do we really?”

Thank you for your attention. If you would like more information about our company, our vision for the future, please contact me on the number below, and I will be happy to speak with you,

In Gratitude,
+61 438 541 540

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