As society learns to embrace diversity, the word ‘disabled’ no longer has a place as it’s not a true representation of a person living with a disability.
And looking at the stars of The Heroes Project, it’s easy to see why. Here, disabilities are not pitted against able-bodied abilities, but celebrated instead as a superpower.
The Heroes Project work tirelessly to challenge the stigma and constraints placed upon people with disabilities by training them to climb some of the world’s highest summits.
It all started when founder and motorbike enthusiast Tim Wayne Medvetz – who was a member of the notorious Hells Angels club – had an accident that changed his life forever.
Back in 2001, Tim was racing his bike through the San Fernando Valley in California, USA, when he was hit by a truck in a catastrophic accident that left him fighting for his life.
It was feared that Tim would never walk again as he faced eight surgeries to save his foot, along with two metal plates and twenty screws to repair his cracked skull; a nine-hour surgery to fix his shattered back with a titanium cage; as well as surgery to put his knee back together.
However, Tim’s fighting spirit proved doctors very wrong.
It was after reading Into Thin Air (about the 1996 Mount Everest disaster in which eight climbers were killed) that Tim vowed to climb the mountain one day. And climb that mountain he did, twice.
Determined to help others in a similar position, Tim turned his attentions to injured veterans returning from conflict zones, and so began The Heroes Project.
The organisation dedicates its work to making the impossible a reality by empowering people to achieve dare-devil accomplishments through physical and emotional training.
Speaking exclusively to InspoDaily about his work, Tim told us about his ongoing quest to celebrate a more diverse world and help veterans overcome trauma with challenges.
Tim said: “Just because you’re missing a limb or in a dark place, there is nothing a bit of nature and adrenaline can’t fix. You can’t get that at a pharmacy, but you can at The Heroes Project.
“It started with just me wanting to help one veteran out, fast-forward to 100 steps below a 20,000ft mountain summit, watching this young veteran missing a leg take those last steps to the summit, watching him screaming and crying on that summit victorious, that was the beginning of a journey that would see dozens more vets experience that same moment.”
Tim also said his mission is to show veterans that society hasn’t forgotten about them and the sacrifice they have made to their country.
He added: “All of the injured veterans that have gone through our programmes have gone on to inspire others with their story and live life to the fullest regardless of limb loss.
“I want our veterans to feel that nothing in life is impossible, there is always a way, and I want our supporters to feel selfless and to practice good karma in their lives, whether that’s helping our vets or anyone who is in a dark place in life.”
Now that Tim has found his true calling, he said he will never give up “until I’m sliding into my grave” as he wholeheartedly believes that “giving is a better way of living than receiving”.
The Heroes Project deliver their work across three different initiatives.
Firstly, their breathtaking expeditions take heroes on therapeutic and transformative experiences by climbing a mountain to challenge them physically and mentally.
Secondly, the team focus on the journey as a whole from hospital bed to summit, ensuring their participants are supported every step of the way to boost confidence and morale, doing so by pairing new climbers with alumni who have already completed the trek.
Last but not least, they hold an annual event, Climb for Heroes, to encourage their supporters to shake the hands of injured veterans and thank them for their service.
Tim’s incredible lust for life was featured in a 14-part series called Everest Beyond the Limit, that also just so happens to be one of the highest ever rated shows on the Discovery Channel.
For more information, click here: The Heroes Project.