Turning an adaptive lifestyle into a rewarding lifestyle

By Hannah Gebresilassie

A Medill Newsmakers Report

When society thinks of people in wheelchairs, we often think of what they can’t do instead of what they can do. In this edition of Medill Newsmakers, wheelchair users in Chicago open up about living an adaptive lifestyle.

The perspectives come from gunshot survivors, Skyhawks wheelchair basketball team members, individuals born with genetic disorders of bone fragility, Shriners Hospital patients and the Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities. Take a look at what these individuals living with a disability have to say.

0:39 – Skyhawks wheelchair basketball team members share how the sport has impacted their lives.

3:28 — Interview in studio with Daniel Ferreira, Adaptive Sports Coordinator from the Chicago Park District, about living with Osteogenesis Imperfecta and thriving regardless of his disability.

9:21 — Interview in studio continued with Daniel Ferreira and Skyhawks wheelchair basketball team member Marcus Jones joins us. Jones is a gunshot survivor who is now a motivational speaker, radio talkshow host and author.

18:20 — Juan Ortiz talks about living a normal life in a wheelchair. He was shot three times when he was 14 years old. After transforming his life, he is now a working father and husband with an MBA in information systems.

22:11 — John Sharp, a barber at Pro-Line Barber and Beauty in Englewood, opens up about overcoming adversity after getting shot six times.

24:57 — Commissioner Karen Tamley from the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities talks about living with a disability and what the city is doing for other wheelchair users like herself.

27:43 — NFL draft prospects participated in an NFL Play 60 Clinic at Shriners Hospital for Children in April. We hear from a couple of the participants. One of them is the face of the hospital, Alec Cabucunacan. 14-year-old Cabucunacan who was born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta and doesn’t let it stop him from achieving his dreams. We also hear from Chauncey Wulf, who acquired a spinal cord injury after getting into a car accident with his family.

Photo at top: Jorge Alfaro, coach of a wheelchair basketball and a softball team at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, smiles at a softball practice. (Hannah Gebresilassie/MEDILL)