|Josh Vander Vies (athletesfirst.com)|
"Hope is an act of faith"
Josh Vander Veis
This film by Angelina L. Cantada captures "an ordinary day in the life of an extraordinary man". Josh Vander Vies has a very moving story, and much of his story is about how he moves-- both with his body and toward his own high goals.
Born without arms or legs, this handsome, funny, warm young man has created an almost limitless life for himself. Quadriplegic is often the only description of a person with his disability. Not Josh Vander Veis. In everything from his education to his romantic life, he uses everything he has to get what he wants. By his late 20's, Vander Veis was already a college graduate, an artist, a law student, an international para athlete, a motivational speaker, and (though he holds his pen with his mouth), he says with a smile, that he also always had the best "handwriting" in class. Josh lives with his girlfriend and her son in Vancouver, Canada.
Vander Vies's honesty is disarming. He welcomes the stares and questions that might offend other visibly disabled people. Vander Viel says that's part of being deeply proud of who he really is. Rather than protect him from the world as a child, Josh says his parents encouraged him to embrace it, even if he could only "embrace" it with his attitude. Technology also brings the world to his door, and allows him to open it independently . Josh calls the computer "the great equalizer". With voice recognition technology, that part of his life is easy. He does not a see a hero when he looks in the mirror. Instead, he says, he just "does what he needs to do to live his life to the fullest".
For all his accomplishments, Vander Viel admits physically getting dressed every morning is one of the hardest things he has to do. So is asking for help. His father rigged up a special "suspender" system so he can pull on his own pants. But with all the fears a person with no arms or legs might have, Vander Viel's biggest fear is part of what makes him so special. With so many extraordinary achievements overcoming such a huge disability In Cantada's film, Vander Viel says his biggest fear is that he won't set his goals high enough.
|Josh and his girlfriend, Dalia Mykolaitiene(chinadaily.com)|