Thursday, September 18, 2008


Speaking again

I spoke to an education class at IUPUI yesterday. This was a group of students who may find themselves working with students with disabilities. The point of the speech was to share my story and spend some time talking about how people with disabilities want to be treated.

The class was great! They were attentive and asked some great questions. However, I feel like I only scratched the surface. We talked for a little over an hour and a half and there was so much more that we could have talked about. When we finally got to the Q&A point of the speech there wasn't much time left. Ultimately the time came for them to take a break and for me to make my exit. When their teacher, Mary Jo Dare sent them on break many of the students came up to speak with me and ask questions that they hadn't gotten to ask yet. I spent a few more minutes talking to them and the subject of my car came up.

Mary Jo was kind enough to let those students who wanted to see my car come outside with me before she continued the class. I gotta admit it was a strange feeling to have 15 to 20 students following me down the hall as we went to my car! I'm sure anyone watching was confused by the sight of a man on two prosthetics walking at the head of this crowd!

During the conversation a young lady shared a story with us about a friend of hers who is dying from brain tumors. The young man is only 15 years old and she became very emotional as she shared her frustration with how people are treating him so differently. I just wanted to get up and give her a hug!

One of the most important things when working with someone with a disability is to see the person, not the disability. To ask if they need help, or want you to do something instead of automatically doing it for them. I used to get so frustrated, especially with my family and friends, when they would do something for me without asking. However, there is a flip side to this as well. Something that I had to learn, or accept, was that these people felt a need to help. That, while it may frustrate me, it relieved them on some level to feel like they were doing something to make things easier on me. I guess what I'm getting at is that it's a two way street.

In any event, it felt great to speak to a group again! I'm speaking to a PT class at UIndy next Wednesday and I'm a panelist at a convention about assistive devices next Friday. The following week I have two more speaking engagements as well!

In regards to Physical Therapy, things are continuing to improve. The measurement on the range of motion in my hip wasn't as good as I'd hoped last week. That was partly because I had PT first thing in the morning and I hadn't had an opportunity to stretch. The most important thing right now is for me to continue stretching as much as possible and to increase my endurance walking.

Jeremy, Thanks for the insight on the best way to assist those with disabilities! I often see somebody in a scooter at Wal-Mart and am unsure if I should offer assistance if they need it or not. A lot of times, I will ask if they need something from a higher shelf that I could assist them with but other times I watch for a couple minutes to see if they look like they want something off a higher shelf and can get it for themselves. Sometimes these people can stand briefly so I hate to intrude in their independance if it's not needed.
Sounds like you are really enjoying your speaking engagements! I'm sure you are helping a lot of people by sharing your story and giving tips!
God Bless You!!
Marilyn Becker
Too late to change my comment. One sentence doesn't sound quite like I meant it to, particularly the "if they need it or not". Meant to say "ask them if they need assistance or not"


It's so awesome that you are having an opportunity to teach people and sometimes even help them through your speeches. I wish I could attend one - maybe you'll come to the DC area sometime to speak? :-)

I hope the invites for you to speak keep pouring in!

Hi Jeremy..... It's good to hear that you are back in the swing of public speaking and sharing your experiences with others, especialy young people. I'm sure they are a great and attentive audience.

I was very pleased to hear about your "unexpected call" from your Olympic friend. His thoughtfullnes resolved a problem I have struggled with over the past year or so. A neighboring city, Portsmouth, is the home of Jeremy's major competitor for the past year or so, Lashawn Merritt. Throughout the past year I have struggled with which one to root for in their many races. After hearing of your call, I have been been happy pulling for either one, just as I always pulled for both in the relays.

Keep up your good work, Cousin,

Hey Jeremy, I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to come and speak with us today (Mary Jo's IUPUI Education Class)! It was a great opportunity for all of us to meet you and learn of your experiences. We all agreed that you were an excellent speaker and we all really enjoyed your humor!

Thanks so much!! Good luck with your other speaking engagements!

Do you have anything formal written up describing talks you can give? If you're interested I would like to present something to the principal at my school (or super). They are very big on doing staff seminars etc and sometimes even host state wide events.
Let me know if you'd like me to pursue this...
I can be your campaign manager...wait, wrong person I thought I was writing Palin there for a are such an inspiration to me and others. I can't imagine the horror you have gone through to get too where you are at today. Amazing. I believe Oprah is calling, hang on..nope wrong number.

Jeremy, keep up the good work you are touching so many lives!! I make a joke about it but no joking aside you have a special gift and someday, somebody will appreciate it and pick you up for more formal engagements. I see a book deal in the works. Have you at least thought about it?
Anyway, keep up the hard work honey, when I feel like my life is so overwhelmed I read your blog and realize just how humble I am..
Your amazing!!
marsha :-)

I'm glad you're getting more opportunities to speak. I know that it's actually therapeutic for me to do those presentations as a parent of a special needs child, I can only imagine that it probably does the same for you.

I love the visual of you walking down the hall with all of the students following you! :-D I'm sure they loved your car with all of its fancy features!

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