If you missed September's Featured Idealist segment last month, you're in luck!
Meet the Founder of OneRevolution, Chris Waddell, whose mission is to change society's perception of what it means to live with a disability, and how the labels we give ourselves and others make a difference. Read Chris's story below and learn more about the important work OneRevolution is doing.
Chris Waddell was a talented Division One skier when an unfortunate accident on the slopes in 1988 left him paralyzed below the waist. True to his determined and inspirational nature, Chris was back on the ski hill racing in a monoski within months and competing at a level no coach previously thought possible. In 1992, Chris picked up his first of ten Paralympic medals in skiing and track and field. He is the most decorated skier in Paralympic history and has been referred to in multiple skiing publications as one of the greatest skiers in North America.
But more impressive than his five Paralympic gold medals or his unprecedented 2009 ascent up Mount Kilimanjaro is the nonprofit he began after his accident, One Revolution. One Revolution is an organization whose aim is to turn society’s perception of disability upside down. "I want people to see these athletes for more than their disabilities,” Chris told Plenty. "We are all climbing a mountain. One Revolution came out of that.”
Based out of Park City, Utah, Chris is definitely changing people’s perceptions of disability. One Revolution's elementary-education program, Name Tags, reaches over 50,000 students each year with its compelling, interactive program about the effects of the labels they choose to wear. The Upside Down Grant program has awarded thousands of dollars to those telling their stories in provocative and engaging ways. Additionally, the heartbeat of One Revolution, the Storytelling Clinics, have allowed for hundreds of people, disabled and able-bodied alike, to develop and tell their impactful and unique story.
Chris is continually defying boundaries and encouraging others to do the same. When I commented, amazed, on the courage and passion it must have taken to accomplish all that he has, Chris responded, “It’s simple. Ordinary people do extraordinary things by first deciding to do them and then figuring out how.”