Kansas City man shot and paralyzed in 2012 inspires others to embrace their challenges
Wesley Hamilton's nonprofit, Disabled But Not Really, assists those with disabilities to find their identity.
In 2012, Wesley Hamilton survived a gunshot wound that left him paralyzed from the waist down. At first, having to use a wheelchair caused him to fall into a deep depression. But that changed when he decided to take control of his life for his daughter, Nevaeh.
Investing in fitness and nutrition allowed him to ultimately turn things around and even compete as an adaptive bodybuilder.
For the last six years, Hamilton has been executive director of the philanthropic organization he started, Disabled But Not Really, spreading positivity and hope to the disabled community.
"We're geared to helping people with disabilities create their own identity in this society," says Hamilton. "We focus on programs that are geared through fitness and nutrition... and ways that we can, kind of, attack the mindset to help with that creation of identity."
Last month, Hamilton made an appearance on Good Morning America during which the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation surprised Hamilton with an astounding $1 million donation. He believes the new funding significantly amplifies Disabled But Not Really's mission.
"It just didn't feel real. I think to this day I'm still processing it," admits Hamilton.
During his appearance on Up To Date, Wesley Hamilton also recalled his 2019 appearance on the Netflix show "Queer Eye," during which he met the man who shot him. Hamilton says he had forgiven the shooter years before and didn't need an apology.
"I'm smiling ear to ear... it just shows growth, understanding, accountability," Hamilton says after hearing a recording of the encounter.
"I just felt more empowered listening to it again. Y'know, because it was a very organic and authentic conversation. And, we both had time to think, but we both had time to grow."
- Wesley Hamilton, executive director of Disabled But Not Really