Victims Inspirational Testimonies
"Just Keep Showing Up For
"Ex-Miss America Relates
Recovery From a Stroke"
by Jim Maurer
"It's Not The Disability
About Dana Boman
by Joni Eareckson Tada
JUST KEEP SHOWING UP FOR LIFE...
By Scott Chesney
March 24, 20003
As I look back on
all the adversity that I have experienced in my life, I could really
over-analyze how I have been able to overcome and even embrace so
much adversity, but instead I am choosing to simplify my thinking.
The decision to just get up and show up for life is the key to my
success and the success of so many others who persevere in the face
of adversity. Yes, it is that simple, yet our minds want to reject
such simplicity. Our mind wants to create drama, challenges for us,
and make us struggle. Why? Because our minds fear change!
wonderful world of change. It is the only constant in life, yet we
continue to fight this ongoing part of life. So, why does the mind
"fear" change? Because it loves the past, it craves having control
over you. F.E.A.R. � Fictionalized Evidence Appearing Real. Fear is
actually something that has not even happened , yet our minds try to
convince us that the results are painted a certain color. You must
go beyond the limitations of your mind and tap into the unlimited
supply of power, courage, wisdom, and belief that is residing within
Now returning to
our simplistic approach to overcoming challenges, by just showing up
for life, we have overcome the first major obstacle of the day. When
we are struggling and facing challenges, it is very easy for us to
retreat, retire, and simply not face the challenge. That is the way
your mind would want it. By showing up for life, you have defeated
fear in the opening battle and letting this unknown entity know who
is in charge and how much life there still is to live. Once you
condition yourself to take this first step, no matter what the day
has in store, you have solidified your position for the day. You are
steering the ship of your life and will dictate where you want to go
By just showing up
for life, you have eliminated the only place where a disability can
reside�.in one�s attitude. By choosing life, you have sent out your
advertisement to the world, "I am still here and that my life is
still full of happiness and unlimited opportunities!"
Be well, stay true
to yourself, and always know that you are far greater than you think
About Scott Chesney...
With a resume of
endless transformational experiences, lessons, and inspiring stories
from two worldwide journeys and living life with paralysis since the
age of 15, Scott has become a nationally and internationally
recognized workshop and keynote presenter. He has addressed over one
million individuals from all walks of corporate life, which includes
management and staff at Prudential, AXA Advisors, UDV, The United
Nations, The World Congress for People with Disabilities, The
American Physical Therapy Association, National Council on Alcohol &
Drug Dependence, The Government of Dubai�s Department of Tourism &
Commerce, Indian Tourism Development Corporation, The Malaysian
Association for the Blind, Spinal Injuries Association of Kenya,
Self-Unlimited Network of the Netherlands, and many other
corporations, associations, and organizations globally. In addition,
Scott has presented his S.E.E.K.� (Self-Esteem Enhancement for Kids�
) to over 500,000 children and teens around the world and continues
to complement his work with kids by offering parenting and staff
After studying the
peaks and valleys of human behavior and what makes people "tick,"
Scott founded a corporation called Devotion to Motion, LLC in which
he creatively designs full and half-day workshops as well as keynote
presentations that have been known to open doors to our unlimited
potential as human-beings. He has also studied over 70 complementary
medicine modalities and researched accessibility and sensitivity of
people with disabilities in 38 different countries.
In addition to his
rewarding speaking schedule, Scott is a fundraising consultant for
the Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis, serves as a Peer Coach at
Children�s Specialized Hospital, and is a Life Coach for
individuals, couples, and families. He is a Seton Hall University
graduate and holds a master degree from the world in life
experiences. In his spare time, Scott cherishes the moments spent
with his wife Pratiksha and daughter Nia in New Jersey.
Ex-Miss America relates recovery from a stroke
By JIM MAURER
CAREY -- Jackie (Mayer)
Townsend was a 28-year-old wife and mother of two young children on
the day her life changed in 1970.
At that time, the
Sandusky native had already been a former Miss Ohio (1962) and
former Miss America (1963). She was a singer for a year with Fred
Waring and The Pennsylvanians, too.
"For years I believed in myself and my abilities," she said.
"It all came true. I was on top of the world."
But she woke up
one day in 1970, unable to speak and with her right side numb. She
was rushed to a Pittsburgh, Pa., hospital where it was learned that
a blood clot, formed from her use of birth control pills, had caused
the stroke. Current medicines used now to assist stroke victims
weren't available then. She saw the fear in the nurse's face.
"God, please don't
let me die," she remembers thinking.
jumbled in her head when a doctor came into her hospital room and
told her she had a stroke, but it was over and "you are going to
"I knew God was
there and he would pull me through," she said. "I knew I would be
"It is good to be
alive," she said. "So many people don't realize that until something
She said she has
learned to live "one moment at a time" because that's the way she
had to learn after her stroke. It took her five years to regain her
strength and relearn such basic knowledge as the alphabet, numbers
and how to talk.
She also learned
to think positively. Once a symbol of American beauty, "I lost all
confidence in myself," after the stroke.
Her son was 5
years old and her daughter 9 months old when she suffered the
stroke. It was another five years before she realized she had to
make her own decisions. A scolding from her then 10-year-old son
made her realize how she had been acting.
"Mom," Bill told
her, "you have a serious problem. Mom, you're feeling awfully sorry
for yourself. Why not get off your butt and do something with your
She left the room
and cried, but finally realized he was right, she had been feeling
sorry for herself.
"We are all
unique, wonderful, beautiful people," she said. "We are all
different, but we all have something we can excel in."
She learned that
"beauty is within" and it takes love and courage to know you can do
whatever you set your mind to, she said.
She had several
suggestions to maintain that beauty: surround yourself with positive
thoughts through reading and listening to tapes; grow through your
failures; surround yourself with laughter; tolerate differences in
people; and find your own pursuit of significance through service to
She praised her
husband, John, and her children, Bill and Kelly, for their support
throughout the years.
For over 20 years
she has been a motivational speaker throughout the United States and
Canada. She is a founding board member of the National Stroke
Association. She has won numerous awards for her efforts and has a
rehabilitation facility at Providence Hospital, Sandusky, named in
Warning signs of
stroke include: slurred speech or unable to understand speech;
weakness/numbness or tingling in the side, face or hands; blurred
vision or severe, abrupt headache. She urged anyone with these
symptoms to get in contact with emergency personnel immediately
because time is important and diagnosis is critical for significant
include: exercising regularly, eating low-fat foods, controlling
high blood pressure and diabetes and having annual doctor exams.
To our fellow
1970, the day after Thanksgiving, I woke from a deep sleep and found
that I was paralyzed on my right side and could not speak, I had a
STROKE! Today, years later, I have lived through a crisis that
rearranged all of my priorities. I have learned these lessons for
- Live one day at
a time. Set small goals and work at them. Also, enjoy this day and
see the love that surrounds you.
- Always think positively, Surround
yourself with positive-thinking people.
Jacquelyn Mayer Townsend
- Turn setbacks into triumphs:
- Have a sense of humor. Don�t let
things get you down. It is all right to laugh at yourself and the
- Find your own significance. Find
your own bliss, which is that unique talent or understanding that
brings meaning to your life.
From crisis, I found my own bliss. You can too, by turning tragedy
Jacquelyn Mayer Townsend
Miss America 1963
It's Not The
It's The Ability
Dana�s Amazing Story
Dana Bowman gained
worldwide attention in 1994 during a most unthinkable accident. As a
member of the U.S. Army Golden Knights skydiving team and a Special
Forces soldier, Dana was performing in a routine training exercise.
Dana and his partner were demonstrating the Diamond Track,
and�wearing smoke-producing "wingtips"�the two "etched" a diamond
shape in the sky. The skydivers, traveling at a combined speed of
300 m.p.h. and planning to crisscross, instead collided in midair.
Both of Dana�s legs were severed instantly, one above and one below
the knee. The impact claimed the life of his best friend and
skydiving partner, Sgt. Jose Aguillon.
opened, bringing him back to Earth and "to a life that was changed
forever," as Dana describes it. His extraordinary attitude and
determination were key factors in his rehabilitation: Just 9 months
after the accident, Dana returned to the Army�becoming the first
amputee member of the Golden Knights, the first to reenlist in
active duty�and the first to skydive on prosthetic legs into a
Dana retired from the Army and continues to touch lives
through hundreds of speaking engagements, television programs,
magazine and newspaper articles, and soon in a movie to be made
about his life. Named Veteran of the Year in 1995 and an honors
graduate with a BS Degree in Commercial Aviation from the John D.
Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, he flies multi-engine craft,
helicopters, and sea planes.
In addition to a
full-time speaking career, Dana enjoys scuba diving, bicycling, snow
and water skiing, snowmobiling�and skydiving. In fact, he combines
speaking and skydiving by dropping in�parachute and all�on his
audiences! Using two hi-tech prosthetic legs designed by Hanger
Prosthetics & Orthotics, Dana demonstrates his abilities to
thousands of people each year. Dana also spends much of his time
with his family, and other amputees and the physically challenged.
His next goal?
Dana is currently working on designing parts for prosthetic limbs to
improve their function. He is working on a book about his life to
date, and he continues to speak out on living a limitless life. As
Dana puts it "It�s great to open people�s minds to the possibilities
of amputees�and of everyone who has dreams. If my accomplishments
motivate others�not just amputees�to try new activities, my mission
is achieved. We face challenges everyday; it is overcoming those
challenges that makes us stronger."
Dana�s presentations are always custom-tailored for your audience,
your needs and your objectives, and appeal to all age groups and
It�s not the
Disability, It�s the Ability
We all have myriad
disabilities. As a living example himself, Dana shows us how to
focus on what we can accomplish, and encourages the physically
challenged and the able-bodied to achieve their goals�no matter how
wonderfully large or seemingly small. As Dana�s highly personal and
passionately told story illustrates, abilities are endless.
Disabilities are nonexistent.
At some time�at
many times �we face adversity. Overcoming adversity seems easy for
some, harder for others. Dana, who has persistently, gracefully, and
triumphantly overcome adversity after loosing his legs, will help
each individual audience member overcome their own challenges as
well, through discipline and a deep belief in their own power to
Change-The Only Constant
unavoidable constant. Usually, change comes in small, continuous,
and at times insidious adjustments to our reality. Such as new
information, a new job, or a new client. Sometimes, as it did for
Dana Bowman, change arrives all at once, with unspeakable force�an
entire life forever altered. Learn from a man whose body, career,
and perspective changed irrevocably in a split second. Become
forever inspired by his determination to regain his life and reclaim
his abilities. Dana�s story teaches us all to accept change-and
accept only greatness!
Into your Event
inspirational sight, and the perfect way to begin an unforgettable
keynote with Dana. He can skydive into your event�a grand opening,
meeting, or sporting event. All wide-eyed attendees will watch a
double-amputee land on a dime�every time. Then Dana will remove his
chute and further prove that if we choose to be disabled, we will be
disabled. If we choose to live life to its fullest, we will find
continual fulfillment and inspiration.
A client list of over 700
State Farm Insurance
US Air Force
Bell Helicopter Textron
Hanger Orthopedic Group
Counter Intelligence Agency
Challenged Athletes Foundation
Women�s Bowling Federation of America
New York State Games
Disabled American Veterans
Boy and Girl Scouts of America
Vietnam Veterans of America
University of North Carolina
University of North Dakota
Smith and Nephew
Over 100 Elementary & High Schools
Dana has been the subject of hundreds
of national and international press appearances, including:
ABC Person of the Week
CBS: Eye on America
Lifetime Cable Network
Ripley�s Believe It or Not
Call for latest info:
Dana Bowman � 817.597.1826
Joni and Friends
May 6, 2003
Your story touched
one of those sensitive chords in me. Of all the handicapping
conditions I�ve learned about, brain injury has to be one of the
most traumatic to the family. And as I know you�ve already
discovered, the greatest frustration is the lack of resources.
Hardly a week goes by that we don�t hear from someone who is looking
for practical help for their brain injured loved one.
Council on Disability, on which I serve, is continually helping
formulate new policy regarding the need for better resources and
more structured living environments for the brain injured. Medical
technology provides brain injured people with life, and now we are
challenged to help provide more meaningful life for them and their
families. There is an incredible demand for resources and services.
Sherry, I am
especially encouraged to hear of your desire to reach out and
inspire others with disabilities through your website and your
books. Because of your own disability, you obviously have a special
insight that many people may not have. You are a great example of II
Cor 1:3,4 where it says that we can comfort others with the comfort
God has poured out to us. You are uniquely equipped to do that in
the lives of others. And I�m sure that like me, you�re learning to
accept the good days and bad days where it concerns your disability.
Just acknowledging that fact helped me deal more realistically with
daily struggles (and surprises!) my handicap brings. Prayer, earnest
and sincere, also helps tremendously. What would we do without
Thank you for your
inspiration and talking with me and be assured that we will be
praying for you, your boys and your family. May God provide you
daily grace to meet all of your needs.
Yours in His care,
Joni Eareckson Tada
President of Joni and Friends
diving accident in 1967 left Mrs. Tada a quadriplegic in a
wheelchair, unable to use her hands. During two years of
rehabilitation, she spent long months learning how to paint with a
brush between her teeth. Her high detail fine art paintings and
prints are sought after and collected.
Due to her best-selling books, beginning with her
autobiography, Joni, as well as having visited 35 countries,
Joni's first name is recognized around the world. World Wide
Pictures' full-length feature film, JONI, in which Mrs. Tada
recreated her own life, has been translated into 15 languages and
shown in scores of countries around the world.
Mrs. Tada's role as a disability advocate led to a
presidential appointment to the National Council on Disability for
three and a half years, during which time the Americans with
Disabilities Act became law.
Joni and Friends was founded by Mrs. Tada in 1979 and has
grown into four flagship programs that affect the lives of thousands
of disabled people and their families. In 2002, Joni and Friends
will serve over 500 special needs families through nine Family
Retreats across the nation. Through Wheels for the World,
over 14,000 wheelchairs have been collected nationwide, refurbished
by inmates in correctional facilities, and shipped to developing
nations where physical therapists fit each chair to a needy disabled
child or adult. Joni and Friends, a daily five minute radio
program, is heard over 850 broadcast outlets and this year received
the "Radio Program of the Year" award from National Religious
Broadcasters. Through ten Area Ministries offices, Joni and
Friends teams provide church training and education to promote
inclusion of people with disabilities.
Mrs. Tada and her husband Ken have been married since 1982. Mr. Tada
recently retired from 32 years of teaching and has come on board
with Joni and Friends to serve as Director of Ministry Development.
He is also a member of the Board of Directors and recently received
Family Life Ministries Robert McQuilken Award honoring "The
Courageous Love of a Marriage Covenant Keeper."
Mrs. Tada is a highly sought-after conference speaker both in
the U.S. and internationally and is also a columnist for Moody
Magazine, the United Kingdom's Christian Herald, and several
European Christian magazines.
Mrs. Tada serves on several boards, including the Lausanne
Committee for World Evangelization