It’s never too late to take control of your life


Wesley Hamilton proudly pointing up to his accomplishments Photo credit: Hana Woodward

Hana Woodward

Wesley Hamilton, paralyzed since being shot in the back, was the focus of the event “Approach Me” on April 9. Hamilton was invited by Associated Students officer Taylor Carpenter, who, like Hamilton, is also in a wheelchair.  Hamilton’s message was one that the audience will continue thinking about in their day-to-day lives.

When Hamilton was 24 his life changed in a way that might make some people think he is disabled, but he refers to himself as “differently-abled.” He teaches and encourages everyone to think that way because everyone’s body is different.

As Hamilton told his story of the stranger who shot him in the back twice, you can feel the confusion from that night in his words. He says he made eye contact with the man after the first shot to his back.

Hamilton said he overcomes mental boundaries everyday and describes himself as being mentally and physically free. He has accomplished more in the last four years of his life than in the 26 years prior. When he was a child he was taught not to even look at people in wheelchairs, but he wants that mindframe to change. Hamilton said he didn’t know he was mentally disabled until he was physically disabled. Every morning he starts the day giving himself positive affirmations.

A year after his accident he was bedridden for almost two years until he found the motivation to change his life. He wanted to be able to take his young daughter to the park himself again. While being bedridden for 21 hours a day, he spent his three hours out of bed in community college taking a health course. During his last eight months on best rest he lost 100 pounds just by eating healthy. This lead him on the path to become founder of the organization Disabled But Not Really.

“Just because you have a disability doesn’t mean your life can’t change,” said Hamilton.

During the speech he showed a campaign he was approached to do called “Build Yourself.” After the video he quickly brought humor back to the room by saying it was his “Nike Moment.” Hamilton is now an award-winning adaptive athlete and motivational speaker, and has been featured in Men’s Health Magazine and TEDx.

Hamilton talked about how he overcame all of these adversities for himself. He wants to teach people that it doesn’t matter what others think about you. Three topics Hamilton spoke about were accountability, self-love and how to take control of your life.

Hamilton changed his life when he was 26 years old and hasn’t looked back. His motto is: “What are you going to do when those excuses don’t make sense anymore.”