Category Archives: SCI Superstars

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

SCI Superstar: Heidi Herkes

Helping women feel beautiful has been Heidi Herkes’ world since beginning her career in the beauty industry over 15 years ago. A former high-end bridal beauty business owner from the UK who traveled worldwide for her job, she’s been working hard to forge a new career for herself since her injury, and she’s successfully done it.

Heidi has refused to allow her injury to stop her from following her passion in the beauty industry. She can’t use her hands the way she used to as a C6 quad, which has forced her to think of new ways to share her talents. She’s transitioned from a wedding beauty consultant to a personal stylist and we can’t wait to see where her new career direction takes her.

Determined, beautiful and stronger than she’s ever been before in her life, read on to see how Heidi has proven no match for a spinal cord injury.

Why She’s Fearless?

A Londoner and a graduate of King’s College, Heidi worked over 15 years in the beauty industry before her entire world was changed. Doing beauty consults for brides in cities like Sydney, Dubai, Auckland Berlin and throughout the United States was a great gig. But then in 2014, a freak accident occurred. Heidi became paralyzed after falling down a flight of stairs while overseas.

I had to rethink my approach to life and work completely,” she says. “Not only did it have a resonating effect on my life at the time, it also showed me first-hand how enormous an impact it had on the way I looked and felt. My confidence and self-esteem were at ground zero. I was faced daily with the difficulty of not being able to express myself as the woman I once was.”

After taking over a year to recover, she began to think about returning to the industry. Heidi thought about how she could utilize her skills in their best way, and she brilliantly thought of becoming a personal fashion consultant for women of all sizes, shapes and backgrounds. “I soon realized that despite the accident, this was something that resonated deeply with me and was something I wanted to pursue.”

As a result, Heidi launched her new business, Heidi Herkes Personal Style Consultancy, in October 2016 and she is one of the few, if not the only, personal style consultant with a SCI in the world.

What’s Next?

Heidi offers her services to all, AB and disabled, and she styles a wide variety of sizes. Her style consultancy involves a fun three step process: #1. Personal style session. #2. Wardrobe styling session, and #3. Personal shopping and styling session. For anyone who could really use fashion advice from experts, you can’t get better than this. She’ll even give you a color analysis.

Since launching her business, Heidi has helped dozens of women feel more beautiful, including Jemima Green, a newly injured woman and horse lover who partook in a glamorous photoshoot with the help of Heidi as her stylist consultant. See the photos and read how Heidi impacted Jemima’s life here: The Beauty of Wings

Heidi has stayed true to herself in spite of her SCI. Whether she’s traveling the world when she’s not working with the love of her life or simply dreaming up her next big career move, we love her for her ferocious tenacity and wish her all the best.

Learn more: Heidi Herkes

– Like Heidi Herkes Personal Style Consultancy on Facebook