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Chris Waddell Completes 1,500-Mile Ride to Turn Perceptions of Disability Upside Down

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PARK CITY, Utah (November, 2013) – Riding in a handcycle, just inches off the ground, Chris Waddell recently completed a ride from Seattle, WA to San Diego, CA, as a part of the One Revolution Foundation Who’s Your Hero Tour. Connecting communities and celebrating stories of resilience, integrity and community, the 13X Paralympic medalist and Ski Hall of Famer made 18 Nametags TM educational presentations to more than 5,500 students at schools along the west coast. He also made visits to three VA Medical Centers to share his message and identify local heroes.

Who’s Your Hero Tour Wrap-Up

No matter who we are, we face challenges and adversity. Chris Waddell’s achievements transcend what is perceived as his disability. The Nametags™ programs push people to challenge the assumptions and limitations that result from labels we give ourselves and to others. “One of the highlights of the tour for me, was a boy that approached me after a presentation, and told me that he now knows that he can accomplish great things despite being autistic.”

Nametags™ doesn’t focus on disability, but rather the universal experience of challenge and the power of resilience. Created by Chris Waddell and resilience educator Donna M. Volpitta, Ed.D, the program centers around the message “It’s not what happens to you. It’s what you do with what happens to you” and ultimately, our collective responsibility to create communities that allow people to thrive.

“Chris’ presentation is one of the best I’ve seen in my twenty years in education,” said From Markus Hunt, Cathedral School for Boys. “His messages of identity and resilience were powerful and developmentally appropriate for our students. More than lecture, Chris challenged each individual (including teachers) to examine his/her life and offered accessible tools for facing present and future challenges.”

The Who’s Your Hero Tour wasn’t without it’s challenges as Waddell peddled uphill into the wind and dealt with weather as well. “This ironically symbolizes the universal struggle,” said Waddell. “We all have our struggles, and we have the opportunity to choose resilience in the face of adversity.” The motto of the non-profit organization, One Revolution, is: “It’s not what happens to you. It’s what you do with what happens to you.”

Our tour joined the Challenged Athletes Foundation, Dodge Million Dollar Challenge in San Francisco. More than 100 cyclists and disabled athletes completed nearly 100-miles per day for the balance of the ride to San Diego, including Chris Waddell and One Revolution Board Chair, Bob More.  This event raised $1 million dollars to help challenged athletes.

After only two shorts weeks of being home in Utah, Chris traveled to the east coast to continue Nametags TM presentations to a half dozen additional schools.

Thank you to our sponsors, friends and donors that helped make the 2013 Who’s Your Hero Tour a success! Sponsors include:  National Ability Center, Peace & Sport, SportsTravel Magazine, Prana, Smith Optics, and Hertz Overland West.

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