The “Ryan Seacrest” of Amsterdam, Marc de Hond is a well known TV personality and presenter who started out his media career as a DJ, but he wasn’t always paralyzed. A tumor on his spinal cord had different plans, and it changed his entire life when he was 25 years old.
But what’s glorious is how Marc threw himself back into life after rehab, especially since his rehabilitation stay was longer than most due to his incomplete injury, and he soon realized his wheelchair was a better form of transportation vs. desperately trying to walk, and it was in this moment he reclaimed his life.
Read on to see what Marc has been up to since his injury.
Why he’s fearless
Growing up in Amsterdam, Marc was raised by his grandparents; Holocaust survivors to be specific, who constantly inspired him growing up. They lived 5 years in a concentration camp and lived to tell about it. Marc’s grandparents went on to give him the strength to become a star soccer player in Amsterdam, and he made a name for himself as a goalie thanks to his awesome reflexes.
But in 2002 while playing, he felt a sharp pain in his back that wouldn’t go away. Marc was asked by his doctor to get a MRI, and it revealed a tumor in his lower thoracic spinal cord column. It was pressing on his spinal cord, and needed to be removed immediately.
When Marc underwent surgery to remove the tumor, it bled too much during the surgery, and this is what caused permanent paralysis. He was obsessed for 4 years with the notion of walking again afterwards, thinking life wouldn’t be worth living otherwise, and then he had a revelation – why take 15 minutes to walk somewhere when you can do it in a few?
And soon he was back in his old life. His house was now accessible, his car had hand controls, he was working and even casually dating. Before his injury career-wise, Marc when one of the earliest European Internet site tycoons, and at age 18 he founded the sites Hatchoo! (a website parody humor site) and Veiling.com, an eBay-like site, which he sold to a German competitor in 2000.
After being interviewed several times about his website and the Internet in general, and showing his natural speaking abilities in the process, Marc was asked to become a podcast host for one of the podcasts he was on, and his media career skyrocketed from there.
He was also a DJ for 3FM before his injury, a popular radio station in Amsterdam, and after his injury he was on the radio even more so, and became a regular presenter for Radio 2 at The Plaza.
It wasn’t until 2006 however when Marc finally made the crossover to TV. He started out as a presenter for Netherlands Morning, and branched off to do all sorts of presenter work, including becoming the voice for “RTL Poker’ all as a full-time wheelchair-user.
As the years passed after his injury, Marc became more and more visible on Dutch TV. In 2008, he helped present the Dutch reality show “Expedition Unlimited,” which followed disabled explorers, and in 2011 he was the smartest celebrity in the National IQ Test (and received a score of 131). He also presented the Paralympic games in Sochi earlier this year for Dutch TV.
In addition to presenting on TV, Marc wrote a book about his injury, and he made a documentary called Never-ending Holiday, which focuses on the roommate he had in rehab who became paralyzed from the neck down.
Marc certainly has perfected the art of adapting and surviving. He has become so good at it in fact that TEDx asked him to do a presentation on the skill (which you can view below). Also a wheelchair-basketball player for the official Dutch team and going on a solo theater show tour – Shards Bring Luck – this year, Marc is unbelievably non-stop guy.
Where does he get all this energy and strength? He says we all have it in us. “I’m not exceptional,” he says. “I’ve just been through exceptional circumstances.”
– Marc’s official site: MarcdeHond.nl (translated for English speakers)
Could you present on TV as a wheelchair-user?
Watch his videos!