When life gives you a wheelchair…find a skate park! At least that’s the motto of 22-year-old motocross athlete, Aaron, “Wheelz” Fotheringham. Fotheringham spent the morning at WAB on Tuesday, April 8 talking to elementary, middle and high school students, signing autographs, answering questions, and doing small demonstrations. In the evening, Fotheringham spoke with WAB’s host, Vic Caban, in the WAB Founders’ Theatre as a part of the school’s Distinguished Speakers Series (DDS).
The record breaking athlete told the inspiring story of the challenges he faced growing up with spina bifida, a spinal cord defect that limits your ability to walk, and how he uses his experience to help people see their own life challenges in a new way.“Your disability is in your head. If you change the way you think about your disability, anything is possible. I never cared what people said or thought about me, because I had positive thinking and, most importantly, I was having fun,” Fotheringham told the crowd.
Fotheringham came to Beijing with his father, Steve Fotheringham. The two were accompanied by Executive Director of WheelsPlusWings, a foundation created to raise the expectations of what “differently-abled” children can do with their lives and empower disabled kids to achieve independent mobility. In particular the group hopes to change attitudes about what is possible in Asia and expose more people in China to success stories of children with disabilities with the hope that fewer parents will abandon their own babies born with disabilities.
Currently, Fotheringham works with Nitro Circus, a TV series that recruited him in 2010. The series features some of the world’s most prominent action sports athletes. He will continue to travel the world with Nitro Circus, and competing in WCMX (wheel chair skating) events.View Fotheringham’s full story here.
WAB’s Distinguished Speaker Series is a continuing effort to “connect, inspire, challenge and make a difference.” WAB invites speakers regularly to present on broad range of topics. The events are open to students and educators as well as WAB parents and the Beijing community. To see the list of WAB’s upcoming DDS speakers and to RSVP to future events, click here. Fotherinham’s event was also sponsored by WAB’s Parent link.
To learn more about Aaron “Wheelz” Fotheringham, visit his website.