When it seems like the news these days is filled with talk of crime, corruption in politics, and of course, good ol’ fashioned American racism, it’s always nice to hear a motivational story every now and again.
On January 14, 2012, Wesley Hamilton—after a brief altercation with a stranger outside of an apartment complex—was shot in the abdomen, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. It was a day that would forever change his life, but in time, it made him a better man and an inspiration for so many others.
Hamilton founded Disabled But Not Really in 2017, a nonprofit that provides physical training, nutritional coaching, and the tools to help disabled men and women build confidence, and not be defined by their limitations.
The $1 million donation came from the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, the largest private funder of spinal cord injury research, training, rehabilitation and support in North America. Hamilton was brought to tears when he got the news. Hell, even I started crying.
It was a beautiful sight. The audience was yelling, Hamilton was covered in confetti—man, I thought it was the NBA Finals.
“They heard about you, and they’ve been following you and they love your story and what you’ve done,” GMA anchor T.J. Holmes told Hamilton. “This is real, for you to continue your work.”
“Thank you to everyone that has been believing, and watching the journey,” Hamilton responded. “It’s always been about the people we’ve been serving. I’m just grateful.”
After his paralysis in 2012, Hamilton had thoughts of suicide, and wasn’t happy with his life at the time, GMA reports. Suffering through depression, he understood that he was not just living for himself, but also for his daughter, Nevaeh.
“My dad’s a superhero to me because he helped me out. He motivates me,” Nevaeh told Good Morning America. “My dad is literally the most amazing person I know.”
Almost a decade after his shooting, Hamilton remains grateful about the outcome.
“The man who tried to take my life gave me life. I’m living my purpose, and everybody is seeing it,” he told GMA. “Follow your dreams despite the circumstances that happen to you.”
Now, let me get back to cutting more onions.