Disability Connection


Archives August 2013

A Hero in Memory — Jon Eric O’Connor

Jon O'Connor and sister Kelly
Jon O’Connor and sister Kelly

A hero is gone but never forgotten. Jon O’Conner lived an honorable life and will be missed by many. For those that knew him, he was

“always the most gentle voice in the room — that didn’t mean he backed down or took a back seat –but it had the consequence of him being heard. He cared — he told the truth — he made everyone laugh and feel comfortable.”

Jon was injured in an accidental fall 12 years ago. After his accident he became a “beacon of hope” for all those facing challenges. When asked about his motto he would enthusiastically reply: “It’s Go Forward!”

We invite you to read more about Jon in a letter composed by Peter Wilderotter, President and CEO of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.

Jon “devoted himself … to improving the lives of everyone living with paralysis” and will always be a hero.

A Blind Lifter

39-year old blind DC-resident Pat Leahy is pursuing his bodybuilding dreams.

39-year old blind DC-resident Pat Leahy

About Pat Leahy

via BlindLifter.com

It takes strength, courage, and dedication to compete in bodybuilding. It takes an extraordinary person to compete blind. Nothing can stop award-winning 39-year old blind DC-resident Pat Leahy from pursuing his bodybuilding dreams.

“Blind Lifter” is an upcoming documentary about Pat that will inspire its audience to go for their dreams. The documentary will be released later this fall.

On May 4, 2013, Pat competed in the Organization of Competitive Bodybuilder’s Atlantic Super Show competition held in Richmond, VA, knowing full well that previous injuries could flare mid-performance and permanently affect his future athletic endeavors.

Pat is not competing against other blind bodybuilders. Pat is competing in a field of sighted competitors. Blind Lifter Logo

Pat’s sight loss has presented him with trials, but it does not define him. Professionally, his career encompasses service under Members of Congress, a Cabinet Secretary, and currently the U.S. federal government. Academically, Pat graduated with honors from Millersville University in 1997, with majors in both Political Science and History. He is also a future MBA student. During his free time, Pat enjoys helping our nation’s wounded warriors, swimming, reading, and being an avid baseball fan. Additionally, he has a guide dog named Galahad, who is a five-year old yellow Labrador.

Read More about his Pat and his new documentary entitled “Blind Lifter”