Amy Quincy – Writer

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Before you watch Johnny’s interview with Amy, here’s what you should know about her:

When Amy Quincy graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Creative Writing, she did what many with writing degrees do: she found an unrelated job to pay the bills and wrote whenever she could during her off-hours.

But a stroke and cerebral hemorrhage in 2006 unfortunately left her with limited mobility, yet allowed her the opportunity to focus on her writing full-time.  Today she’s working on her memoir. [Read more...]

Rachelle Friedman – Athlete, Inspirational Speaker

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Before you watch Johnny’s interview with Rachelle, here’s what you should know about her:

Rachelle Friedman was living the life she had dreamed, preparing to marry the man she loved dearly, when a freak accident the night of her bachelorette party changed everything.  In May 2010, a playful push from a friend into the shallow end of a pool caused her to hit her head and injuring her spinal cord, leaving her quadriplegic.

Over the next year, as Chris and Rachelle’s wedding was put on hold so she could heal and begin therapy, their commitment became even stronger.  This past summer, as the story of their love affair made the rounds in the national media, the couple married.

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Chris Waddell – Athlete

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Before you watch Johnny’s interview with Chris, here’s what you should know about him..

Chris Waddell was a promising young skier in 1988 when an accident on the slopes left him paralyzed from the waist down.  True to his determined and competitive nature, a year later he was skiing again on a monoski.  Two years later he was named to the U.S. Disabled Ski Team.  To date, he is the most decorated male skier in Paralympic history.

“Our approach is a universal approach,” says Chris.  “Our mantra is that it’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do with what happens to you.  And that’s really ultimately no different for you than it is for me – how do we find a way to change a little bit of direction and continue to move forward and succeed when maybe something’s gone wrong, ‘cause something’s going to go wrong for all of us.  That’s just the way it works.”

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Mitch St. Pierre – Documentary Filmmaker and World Traveler

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Before you watch Johnny’s interview with Mitch, here’s what you should know about him..

“I always feel that the more experiences that you build really changes the way you see things,” says filmmaker and world traveler Mitch St. Pierre.  “And it really adds to your mind and the way you think.  And that’s why I’m always open to any sorts of experiences because throughout my life the things that have impacted me the most are probably these random experiences that I’ve had. . .  They really do change people.”

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Tim Wambach & Mike Berkson – Entertainers and Educators

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Before you watch Johnny’s interview with Tim and Mike, here’s what you should know about them…

In 2001, Tim Wambach visited a school district office and filled out an application to be a substitute teacher.  Soon, he met Mike Berkson, an affable and charming 12-year old boy with cerebra l palsy.  What could have simply been a chance encounter or casual meeting soon turned into a meaningful and lifelong friendship.

Over the years that friendship evolved into speaking engagements together.  But it wasn’t long before they realized that there was a more entertaining and impactful way to get the message across, by telling their story in a more theatrical manner and developing a show around it.  Thus, Handicap This! was born.  Through a series of vignettes, stories, and scenes, the two men are able to get their message across through humor and storytelling.

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Michael “Extreme Mike” McKeller – Daredevil and Motivational Speaker

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Before you watch Johnny’s interview with Michael McKeller, here’s what you should know about Michael…

Michael McKeller was born with spinal muscular atrophy, but that never stopped him from having a childhood just like any other all-American boy –  full of excitement, raucous fun, and endless adventures.  But despite brittle bones, scoliosis, and countless surgeries, Michael was determined to do everything his brothers and friends tried, and did his best to treat his medical conditions as nothing but small setbacks.

“I always had a very clear picture in my mind about where I was going to be and how I was going to get there and a lot of the times, no one else bought into that – no one at all,” he says.  “So I had to make it up on my own.  Now I did have the support of my family – they supported me in doing whatever I wanted to try – but as far as figuring things out, a lot of times I had to say, ‘I’m going to do this and I’m going to figure it out.’’’

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Tiffany Giddes and Teal Sherer – Action Stars

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Before you watch Johnny’s interview with Tiffany Giddes and Teal Sherer, here’s what you should know about them…

Hollywood action movie?  Check.  Assassins, double-crossing, and intrigue?  Yes, please.  Leading ladies that kick ass and take names?  Sounds like a winner.  But Collision is no ordinary action film, and its stars are no ordinary starlets.  Tiffany Giddes and Teal Sherer use wheelchairs and so do the assassins they play.  The result?  A one-of-a-kind action film that portrays not only lead actors with disabilities, but women, all in a positive and powerful light.  And like most creative ventures, it all started with a good idea.

“I think that Hollywood has this – and not just Hollywood – I think that people in general have this, like, stigma on people in chairs – that we are weak, that we are fragile, that we can’t do certain things,” says Tiffany, who first came up with the inspiration for Collision.  “I wanted to bust all of those stigmas, and I wanted to take the barriers that, you know, society has on people in chairs and just shatter them.  And what kind of cooler thing to do than make a movie about, you know, women kicking ass?”

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Luca Patuelli – B-boy, Motivational Speaker

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Before you watch Johnny’s interview with Luca Patuelli, here’s what you should know about Luca…

Luca “LazyLegz” Patuelli was born with arthrogryposis, a rare congenital disorder that affects the muscles and joints.  Despite having underdeveloped legs that require him to walk with assistance and 16 surgeries to date to try to correct his condition, Luca has become somewhat of an icon in the B-boy (breakdancing) community and an inspiration for many through his touring, speaking, and television appearances.

Having showed an interest in B-boying at 15 after a surgery ended hopes of a skateboarding career, Luca began learning the skills necessary to express himself in dance, while adapting his physical condition to the art form.  After a move back to his native Montreal, Quebec, Canada, after high school, Luca immersed himself in the breakin’ and hip-hop communities to hone his craft, eventually joining Canadian breakdance crew, Illmatic Styes.  His first nationwide television appearance was on the “Today Show” in September 2006 – a year later, “America’s Got Talent” contacted him.  The television (and subsequent internet) exposure launched a new chapter in his career and allowed him to reach new audiences around the world.

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Jared Dunten – Artist, Spinal Cord Injury Advocate

Before you watch Johnny’s interview with Jared Dunton, here’s what you should know about Jared…

In 2000 while on a camping trip with friends, Jared Dunten dove into the Rio Grande, hit his head on a sandbar, and awoke in an ICU paralyzed and on a ventilator.  Once a young and strong athlete, he had broken his neck and faced an uncertain amount of time in rehabilitation to simply be able to breath on his own again, much less walk.  But true to his resiliency and strength, Jared managed to fight his way off the ventilator and feeding tube and was eventually able to leave the hospital and move back home, although the process was much more arduous than he first expected.

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Toby Mildon – Media Coach

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Before you watch Johnny’s interview with Toby Mildon, here’s what you should know about Toby…

Despite living with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), Toby Mildon was as active and busy as anyone else in March 2010.  A Project Manager for the BBC living in London, an Assistant Producer for Champions Club Community, a Personal Performance Coach, and also chairing a national disability charity (JTSMA), Toby’s schedule was as ambitious as his drive for achievement.  But all of that came to a halt with the onset of a chest infection which turned into the fight of his life.

[Read more...]