“As a mom, you just want to help your kids get through things. I’ve always believed in him.” Judy O’Connor.
Nearly five years ago, Marty O’Connor was working as a traveling salesman with a degree from the University of Colorado when he suffered a life-changing fall down a flight of stairs. The fall left Marty disabled. The quadriplegic young man said that “After I got hurt, I didn’t know which end was up.”
Marty had been dedicating himself to physical therapy five days a week but saw returning to school as the mental challenge he needed. That’s where Marty’s Mom Judy O’Connor stepped in. As a Mom, she knew her role was to be there for her child. She moved to California to be able to assist Marty with his quest to earn his MBA and attended all classes, took notes, did study sessions, participated in presentations and more for the last two years to help her son achieve his goal.
Marty O’Connor said he nominated his mother as a way to honor all the help she had given him.“It is impossible to not notice that kind of effort and dedication that she was showing in helping me prepare,” he said.
Judy O’Connor later said she was “totally blown away” to be pulled to the front of the stage. “I was trying to stay in the background,” she said. “As a mom, you just want to help your kids get through things. I’ve always believed in him and I knew he could do it and I just wanted to have his back.”
Marty O’Connor has some great advice for others facing such physical challenges, which he told the HuffPost. “Your circumstances are not your sentence.”
— AP West Region (@APWestRegion) May 23, 2017
Marty told the HuffPost, “Living with a Spinal Cord Injury may limit your body, but it does not limit your mind. Embrace these challenges as an opportunity for growth in your life. I believe that sometimes God lays on our backs so that we are forced to look up,” he added. “The past few years have taught me so much about myself and have allowed me to develop new strengths that I can use to propel myself as an individual, a professional, and in service to the community.”
And he shared a quote from the ancient Greek philosopher and scientist Aristotle to stress his point: “Where the needs of the world and your talents cross, there lies your vocation.”
Marty O’Connor said his future plans are to work for a sports startup company called DIVERTcity, where he’ll work to raise corporate sponsorship money. And he’ll continue to oversee his nonprofit organization, the Marty O’Connor Foundation for Progress, which aims to support people with debilitating injuries.
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