Occupation: Independent living coordinator, Independence First Age: 45
At age 19, Harvey Ross was shot in the neck by his girlfriend’s father during a domestic dispute, paralyzing him from the neck down. He recalls, “I was so depressed, I begged to be unhooked from the machine so I could die.” After six months in rehab and having regained partial use of his hands, Ross sat at home, smoking pot, leaving only for doctors’ appointments.
Then one day Ross’ mother confronted him: “Is this all you’re going to do with your life?”
After that, Ross bought a weight cuff to hold free weights and began working out at home. He then joined a club and designed his own exercises using their machines. Today, he works out six days a week for three hours. He has played competitive wheelchair rugby and now plays recreationally.
“The world doesn’t owe us anything,” says Ross. “It’s up to you how you live your life.”