Category Archives: SCI Superstars

SCI Superstar: Vahen King

A spinal cord injury always comes when you least expect it. For Vahen King, her paralysis arrived at one of the happiest times of her life – an engagement – but she hasn’t let it stop her. She’s the first ever Ms. Wheelchair Canada, a published author and she works as a certified life coach and ordained minister. Reaching these goals post-injury wasn’t easy however. Vahen had to fight some serious personal demons.

Her inner-perseverance is quite extraordinary. What makes Vahen’s story unique is that it’s laced with a faith component and a love story; a man (who’s now her husband) who’s been with her the entire way. Now full of direction and determined to help the world anyway she can, she’s become a force on wheels you will never forget. Read on to learn the full story of Vahen King.

Why She’s Fearless?

A resident of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Vahen’s faith has been the biggest determiner of her life. A life-long Christian, she fell in love with Jesus as a little girl, and by the time she graduated from high school in 1992, she had decided to attend a popular bible college. While she was in school, true love struck. She met a man and 9 months later they were engaged. A week after their engagement however, Vahen found herself paralyzed.

After being rushed to the ER, she WAS diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis. Suddenly, Vahen was paralyzed from the chest down. Only 24 years old at the time, she was in shock and angry with God. She did gain a significant amount of function back and is now (function-wise) an incomplete paraplegic, but Vahen uses a wheelchair most of the day (although she can stand and walk short distances).

After her injury, she doubted herself and asked her fiancé if he still wanted her. He replied, “God gave you to me. I am not going to send you back.” They married, but shortly afterwards the couple began to encounter difficulties. Vahen had a miscarriage, and after graduating from college, she didn’t feel grounded. Someho, Vahen overcame her depression by restoring her faith, and was able to become a certified life coach as well and an ordained minister. Vahen is now focused on helping others.

She also wrote an autobiography in 2016 called Going Farther in fact. Her book chronicles her injury and journey afterwards. Vahen is also a motivational speaker and makes videos that give great how-to/coping advice to SCI survivors. Her YouTube channel can be found below.

Vahen is such a positive force of energy that she also won the first ever Ms. Wheelchair Canada pageant last year. She represented her country in Poland at the Miss Wheelchair World pageant last Fall. While she did not place in the top three, Vahen did win the Miss Kindness Award, which if you ask us is just as good.

What’s Next?

Vahen is now loving life more than ever before these days. She keeps busy running her own ministry, a life coach business and she keeps a tight speaking schedule. Becoming Ms. Wheelchair Canada opened up many avenues of connecting with the media and to the world. Vahen tries to release a new video each month and she works out at home/does PT at-home often. She loves sharing her incomplete skills in these videos like walking, riding a tricycle and walking down stairs.

Vahen also sings at her ministry’s weekly service, spreading her positive energy that method as well. No matter how you encounter Vahen’s spirit, she has the ability to lift you up in some way. So many people with paralysis can be surrounded by dark energy. Her profound spirit is one to behold. And we are thrilled she’s sharing more via video.

The world could always use a few more Vahen Kings. She is truly an original.

– Visit her site: VahenKing.com
– Visit her video channel: Vahen King

Our Favorite Vahen Videos:

Contagious Courage – Intro – Vahen King

THIS IS YOUR STORY – Vahen King

Miss Wheelchair Canada

Discovering the Power in me – by Vahen King 

SCI Superstar: Wesley Hamilton

Wesley Hamilton is the very definition of turning a bad situation into one that deserves a Lifetime movie, and his is just getting started. Injured in a gun violence incident 6 years ago, he has found himself since his injury. Not only did he transform his body after his accident, Wesley went on to start a nonprofit that is helping do the same for others with spinal cord injuries.

But that’s just a couple of the amazing things he’s done since becoming paralyzed. Motivating others through speaking, to people who are both disabled and able-bodied, is another one of his passions and it’s beginning to get him noticed across the country. See how his story is unfolding and why Wesley is a positive spirit you‘ll never forget below.

Why He’s Fearless?

Growing up on the Eastside of Kansas City, Missouri, Wesley was going along living his life when everything changed in 2012. Shot multiple times by someone he didn’t know, he found himself paralyzed at age 24. Wesley was a new single father with sole custody at the time, and at 230 pounds and 5’4, his body was not suited to being in a wheelchair 24/7.

Inevitably, two years after being paralyzed, he developed a serious bed sore that required surgery. Weight was always something he always struggled with; he was never an athlete. Luckily, he had healthcare workers who inspired him to lose weight. Once he learned about protein and taking up a weightlifting regimen, he was off. He even studied to become a dietitian and now eats a Vegan diet.

Wesley in total lost 100 pounds. After losing the weight, he felt so inspired that he wanted to share the power of taking control of your health & weight with others with paralysis. This is why in 2015 he started his nonprofit, The Disabled But Not Really Foundation, to encourage people with SCI to exercise no matter their ability. Wesley is also planning on getting his certification as an adaptive CrossFit trainer.

And he has really taken off physique-wise (he is now a wheelchair weight lifter and competes in muscle competitions), but the way The Disabled But Not Really Foundation has also taken off is what really motivates Wesley. His foundation is helping people with paralysis get in shape and it’s also helping the wider community, like the homeless with their “Hydrate the Homeless” program.

What’s Next?

In his downtime, other than being a dad to stay busy, Wesley is a motivational speaker and speaks to high schools, special-ed classes, businesses and to the world through his video channel. He loves to speak on believing in yourself. “I wake up everyday and love myself,” he says. His confidence truly has the ability to instill the same in his audience.

Wesley also speaks about the power of finding courage, overcoming obstacles, never giving up, and one of our favs – creating positive energy. “If you surround yourself with positive energy, great opportunities will come your way,” he says. It has certainly worked for him. Late last Fall (in November, 2017), his story was featured in Men’s Health Magazine.

And his introduction to the world continues. In January, Wesley won $18,000 at WeWork’s Creator Awards Event in NYC. He was honored with their Community Giver Award; a really awesome award. And he also was featured in Ebony Magazine in February 2018 for his foundation.

Currently, Wesley is focused on his foundation’s current challenge, #HelpMeGetFit, where they plan on helping transform the bodies of four people with SCI this year. Such a great idea for the community! They’re currently searching for participants in the Kansas City-area. To contact Wesley, click here.

– Wesley’s personal site: I Am Wesley Hamilton
The Disabled But Not Really Foundation

Watch His Videos:

“We are all special. We all have a gift” – a motivational talk from Wesley

“You can’t make me walk again. I love my life” – I AM VLOG

How Being Shot and Paralyzed Helped Me Find My Purpose – FB Live Interview