Screening of PBS Documentary “On A Roll: Family, Disability & the American Dream” Starts Now!
PBS site for documentary On A Roll: Family, Disability and the American Dream: www.PBS.org/onaroll
We’ve come a long way since 1990. We’ve also come a long way since 2000. That year, the disability community, led by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) planned a 24-city, cross-country relay that celebrated the 10-year anniversary of ADA.
That relay and the events of July 26, 2000 are a major part of the award winning PBS documentary film, “On A Roll: Family, Disability and the American Dream.” It is a nostalgic look back at the disability community’s biggest celebration to date.
The film was made by Joanne Caputo, who learned of my work as host of “On A Roll Radio” as a result of the friendship our young sons developed in Yellow Springs, OH. It started with her bringing her camcorder to our house.
From now, throughout the month of July, “On A Roll” is available free at www.onarollmovie.com. Please enjoy and spread the word about it. When it aired on PBS, 1.2 million people saw the initial broadcast. Hopefully, we can reach as many people this month as we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the ADA.
Star Studded Cast!
Here are most of the people with cameos in the film, in order of appearance:
Greg A. Smith, Jr.
Rev. Jesse Jackson
Dr. JR Harding
Dr. Mitch Tepper
Ann Marie Hughey
Senator Tom Harkin
Vice President Al Gore
Ted Kennedy Jr.
Senator Edward Kennedy
President Bill Clinton
Rep. Jan Schakowsky
Joyce Preston Scott
Get your popcorn ready! I hope you enjoy one of the greatest disability documentaries ever made.
Chad Hymas Video Inspires “Operation Rise & Shine”
Gaining Strength from a “Roll Model,” Chad Hymas
by Greg Smith
Getting in and out of bed is something most people take for granted. Due to muscular dystrophy, I have slowly been losing the ability to do this independently. I’m not prepared to live with the lifestyle restrictions caused by the rigid scheduling of assistants to get me in bed. So I’ve established “Operation Rise and Shine: One Man’s Quest to Go to Bed and Get Up Whenever!”
Inspirational Speaker Chad Hymas
“Operation Rise and Shine” is constantly fueled by the inner strength, determination, and relentlessness that is built into my psyche. But finding even more motivation to persevere is something I always strive to do. I was extremely inspired by a video posted by my National Speakers Association colleague Chad Hymas. As C-4 quadriplegic, Chad travels the world alone as an inspirational speaker and gets undressed and dressed daily by himself. It took him 2 1/2 years to learn the entire process. In this video, he shares his process and reveals the potential of focused, relentless determination.
If you watch the whole video, please go ahead and admit it in the “comments” section below. Were you inspired?
My “Operation Rise & Shine” has taken major strides forward over the past few days. Saturday, a new mattress was delivered to the house. This mattress is firm enough to support my body without my weight pushing me down into a hole. This allows me to much more easily turn from side to side. Adding silk sheets makes the process a lot easier too. In addition, the new mattress is about 3 inches lower to the ground than the previous one which makes transferring easier.
The next phase of the Operation is to make the process easier. Now, I am able to make the transfer from bed to wheelchair and vice versa, but is it is extremely difficult. I will be working with my occupational therapist, Danielle Johnson, to come up with little tricks that eliminate the grueling maneuvers. I look forward to sharing our progress as we try to shave the time for transfers down from 20 minutes to under one minute.
Stay tuned for more updates and video proof of the success of “Operation Rise & Shine.” And a special ‘thank you’ to my speaker colleague, Chad Hymas.
Wardrobe Malfunction Can’t Slow the Strength Coach Show!
Despite extreme challenges along the way, Wednesday’s speech at the AASHTO Symposium was a huge success. And boy, were there challenges?
Our flight involved a layover in Chicago. We arrived at Midway airport forty minutes late. We were very concerned about missing the connecting flight to Phoenix. To make the connection quicker, I told the flight attendant to inform the ground crew to transfer my chair directly from one plane to the other as opposed to bringing it to me to use in the terminal.
The airport personnel wanted me to use a regular wheelchair to go two gates away, however I cannot sit in a regular wheelchair without a head rest. The aisle chair, also known fondly in wheelchair user circles as the “Hannibal Lecter chair,” has complete head support and would be perfect for the short move two terminals down.
A 10 minute argument ensued. The airport personnel would not do it. Southwest Airlines had to be the ones to push the aisle chair.
When we arrived at the gate, we noticed that the flight had not even been boarded yet. There were mechanical problems and another two hours were tacked onto the length of our voyage.
Our scheduled 6:40 arrival time didn’t happen. We arrived at the hotel around 9:30 and after a room service burger, it was lights out.
The next morning, after showering, I realized that there had been a “wardrobe malfunction” in the packing of my suit. The jacket was packed but the pants and shirt were nowhere to be found! I wore a black T-shirt, some black sweatpants, and a sports jacket!
I didn’t mention it to anyone, and nobody seemed to notice. When it was time for me to speak, I had totally forgotten about it. It wasn’t on my mind and didn’t get in my way.
The speech went well. Yes there were AV problems despite a successful “run through” an hour earlier. But the audience was immediately captivated when I began, and I held their attention throughout my 45 minute
The rousing standing ovation and the higher than average book sales ratio tell me that I was effective in delivering my message. I love what I do.