Going into my senior year at James Madison High School in Brooklyn, I was outside on an ordinary summer night, when I was shot in my back. The bullet burned the nerves surrounding the t12 section of my spine, which left me unable to walk. Instead of feeling sorry for myself or depressed, I decided to triumph through the fate of adversity. Most people would’ve felt that their life was coming to an end however, I felt like my life was just beginning. At 17 years old after this catastrophic injury had occurred to me, I wasn’t discouraged, because it made me into a different man. It made me think about the bigger picture. It made me think that maybe I was put here to inspire everyone from the youth to the elderly, which I am now on a journey to achieve.
I started doing YouTube videos to highlight some of the issue’s individuals with disabilities face in an effort to show to the world that we should be viewed as assets instead of liabilities. Some of these videos consist of me taking escalators to show how I can get to the next flight when elevators in the subway are out of service. Or how I get upstairs when a venue that I want to attend is inaccessible.
The cost to travel is not covered by the national team due to the fact I am an emerging athlete. As well as the training Equipment currently, I use a regular weight bench to train for para-powerlifting and I use standard weights. While my competition uses an Eleiko WPPO POWERLIFTING BENCH PRESS 2.0 which is specifically designed for Paralympic bench pressing. As well as Olympic caliber weights currently, I use standard weights, but Olympic weights would definitely help me progress quicker. I also have therapy that I still go to that I typically have to pay out of pocket because my insurance company no longer covers my therapy expenses to assist me in my road to walk again. So, if I was to practice with innovative technology such as an exoskeleton which is a walking device that is robotic which would assist me in relearning how to walk.
My goal in the very near future is to create an online platform and app to give creative voices to writers, interviewers, and other talented people with disabilities.
Although my goal is to give hope, motivation, opportunities and a voice to people with disabilities I also hope to inspire anyone that hears my story. As well as anyone that comes across my videos by letting them know no matter how hard the task or journey they will be able to overcome and persevere.
Please connect with me on Instagram @garrisonredd, youtube @garrisonredd, Facebook @garrisonredd. And visit my non-profit organization thegarrisonreddproject.org.
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