Inspiration For EveryoneThe power of inspiration is such a strong thing and also having the ability to inspire is a gift given to someone my god. For the past 10 years I have been a peer Mentor and have been asked to inspire those who have suffered recent spinal cord injuries which is tough as seeing how they have lost some kind of independence such as a paraplegic losing their legs or a quadriplegic such as myself being paralyzed from the neck down losing total independence and the ability to do anything but to think, talk or breathe. I try to inspire them by using my life experiences,such as the three trips that I took to Hawaii . The first trip was in January of 1999. I tell them how the airline people would put me on airplanes by transferring me from my wheelchair,then they took me to my seat by using a isle chair,then they lifted into my seat and then the plane was able to be filled with the rest of the passengers. We flew for three hours and landed in Dallas,TX. Then they took us to the next place where we would have to be checked in once again then had to wait for two hours for the next plane that would take us to Hawaii .Then they had to repeat the process all over again by transferring me from my wheelchair to the isle chair, from the isle chair to the airplane seat , then they strapped me down. Then the rest of the passengers boarded the plane. Then they took us on a nine hour plane ride to Honolulu, Hawaii where we had another two hour layover. Once the plane arrived to take us to the next destination,they had to transfer me from my wheelchair to the isle chair ,then took me on to the plane , picked me up and put me into my seat. Then let the rest of the passengers on the plane. Then they flew us to the big island of Hawaii. Once we landed they had to transfer me from my seat to a isle chair,then took me out of the airplane,then put me on a lift that lowered me down to the ground,because there was no airport on the big island of Hawaii just runways. Then they transferred me to my wheelchair. Then we went and picked up our luggage,then went to pick up the rental car. Then they transferred me from my wheelchair into the jeep and then we headed to the Hilton Wai-Kola Village where we would stay for the next ten days. Once we got to the restort my mother and my friend Marco transferred me from the jeep to my wheelchair. We checked in and got our keys. Then once we got to the room and opened the door i was so happy to see a bed at that point,because it had been twenty hours since I woke up from home until we got to the resort. On the grounds it was so beautiful, because they had a swimming pool with a waterfall, a pond where you could swim with sea turtles , had five excellent restaurants , had a luau and a lottery that if your name was drawn you could swim with dolphins. The next morning we woke up,then went to breakfast, because the resort was so big we had to take the sliver bullet train from our end of the resort to the the other end where the breakfast buffet was. The breakfast buffet had so many different types of food, such as crepes, omelettes that they made for you the way that you wanted with whatever you wanted them to put in them just to name a few. Then after breakfast we went and got the valet to bring us the jeep, then my mother and Marco transferred me into the jeep. Then they got in and we went to Blue Hawaiian Helicopter Tours . They were so nice at the hellicopter place, because four big Hawaiian guys picked me up out of my wheelchair, lifted me up and then sat me on the floor inside of the helicopter, then lifted me up onto the seat and strapped me in. Fortunately I only weighted one hundred and fifteen pounds,so I didn't put a strain on the guys.We flew around the whole island for two and a half hours and saw some amazing things, such as fifteen hundred foot high waterfalls,then when we went over the coast line we saw gray whales in the ocean. We also went out on a whale watching boat where the guys on the boat were so nice, because they lifted me out of my wheelchair,then carried me and my wheelchair onto the boat.Then once we got back to the docks, they had to lift me up all over again.We ate at all of the restaurants that were on the resort grounds. The food was to die for. I was surprised that I didn't gain ten to twenty pounds from all the good food while I was on vacation. Once we had to make the trip back home we had to repeat the whole airplane process all over again which was very exhausting . The night before our last day of our trip my friend Marco had his name drawn which allowed him on Saturday morning to swim with the dolphins, he told me that the water got hot and I laughed so hard, because the the dolphin had urinated all over him.
We made the second trip in May of 1999 for a mothers day gift . On the second trip we had to go through the same process as the first trip except for the fact that we had a two hour lay over in Los Angeles then we flew to Honolulu, Hawaii where we stayed for ten days . Honolulu was not as beautiful as the big island,because it was so packed due to fact that the buildings looked as if they were one on top of the other. The best thing that we did while there was to visit the Pearl Harbor Memorial. It was such a touching experiencee, because you could see the sunken ship just below the memorial and when I went in and read all the names of those who had died it made me want to cry, because it made me realize how bad that day really was.
We then made the third trip in March of 2005, and it turned out to be the best trip of all the trips. This time I took my family back to the big island of Hawaii. This time with the help of my sister and my friend Marco it made the airplane experience less painful and stressful, because they took their time,and were gentle. Even though I had the help of my sister and Marco the trip was still exhausting and painful,because of the eighteen hours it took to get to the resort. We went once again on the hellicopter tour, so that my five year old niece Kaya would have the experience of flying in one. This time I weighted around two hundred and fifteen pounds which was about one hundred pounds heavier. I felt bad for the four guys who lifted me, because they had to go home with aching backs , This time the helicopter tour was the best, because we got to fly over an active volcano, got to see the lava splashing around in the volcanco, flew over the coast line then saw a mother gray whale with her baby, then flew through the mountains to show my niece the waterfalls. The best thing about the helicopter ride was to see my niece smiling and talking to the pilot while also asking questions. We drove around the island and went to the Kona Coffee Company , drank a bunch of coffee and then went to the black sand beach to watch the surfers surf on gaint waves. My nieces favorite part of the vacation was the sliver bullet train that took you from one end of the resort to the other end,but she also liked swimming with the sea turtles and watching the dolphins perform for the guest of the hotel. I will never forget Hawaii not only because of the fun that I had,but because of how I had to do things in a different way from the way I would of have done them if I was able to walk. It goes to show you that if I could travel while being completely paralyzed, this just goes to show all things are possible if you are wiling to do things in a different way or if you allow someone to help you . If I was able to make the three trips to Hawaii while being paralyzed from the neck down this just goes to show those that have spinal cord injuries that they can still live a high quality life even from a wheelchair. I do not let anything stop me from being what I want to be and I hope if you are reading this that if you are disabled in any maner you will not not let any thing stop you from enjoying life. I hope that by reading these three stories , that I encouraged and inspired you to go after any goals or dreams that you have in life and won't let any thing get in your way.