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He survived a 10,000-mile journey to places his wheelchair often couldn't go.

They biked for a year to show that exercise can be for all, even when you're disabled.

He survived a 10,000-mile journey to places his wheelchair often couldn't go.

Paralympian Seth McBride was always athletic.

As a kid growing up in Alaska, he enjoyed the intensity of mountain biking and hiking. So he was devastated after a skiing accident at 17 left him paralyzed.

In "The Long Road South," a short film that Seth and his fiancée, Kelly Schwan, produced, he admitted, “I had a hard couple of years after my accident, just trying to come to grips with living in a new body basically. And a body that doesn't behave as I thought it should."


All images via "The Long Road South."

After living with quadriplegia for 14 years, Seth now says that he's figured out how to do a lot of the things that he loves.

After helping the U.S. wheelchair rugby team take home the gold during the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, he set another goal: to become the first disabled athlete to finish a trans-continental cycle tour — which is a really big deal.

“We're going to be riding hand cycles and bicycles from Portland, Oregon, to Patagonia, Argentina. A trip of 10,000 miles that's going to take us about a year," Seth explained in the short film, which documents him and Kelly before they started the tour.

Strapping only the essentials to their bikes, the well-traveled couple was hyped about their trip and totally unfazed by what other folks may see as a big 'ole obstacle.

While they planned to cycle through gorgeous places, a lot of them aren't wheelchair-friendly.

Kelly, an occupational therapist who met Seth while volunteering during the 2008 games, talked about why pushing beyond these challenges is so important.

“I'm such a firm believer in equality. Erasing barriers for people with disabilities. We kind of live in a picture-perfect world sometimes in the U.S., especially in Portland, where everyone is pretty well accepted, no matter what you got going on. To go through all of these different countries, through all of these different cultures, to have a better understanding of how people get by, without all of the resources we have in the States, it's all things that will help us grow."

Since the filming of "The Long Road South," Kelly and Seth successfully completed the transcontinental trip.

And when it came to some of those difficult places that were hard for Seth to navigate, Kelly sometimes picked him up and carried him through. Seth says that she's one of the strongest people he knows. She says he's got all the street smarts.

Despite both of their imperfections, together they make an unstoppable team.

And that's what their trip was all about — showing people that no matter what challenges exists, Seth says, “if you want to do something, you should be able to just make a plan and go try and do it."

True dat.

You can watch "The Long Road South" here:

RODNAE Productions via Pexels
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The past year has changed the way a lot of people see the world and brought the importance of global change to the forefront. However, even social impact entrepreneurs have had to adapt to the changing circumstances brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic.

"The first barrier is lack of funding. COVID-19 has deeply impacted many of our supporters, and we presume it will continue to do so. Current market volatility has caused many of our supporters to scale back or withdraw their support altogether," said Brisa de Angulo, co-founder of A Breeze of Hope Foundation, a non-profit that prevents childhood sexual violence in Bolivia and winner of the 2020 Elevate Prize.

To help social entrepreneurs scale their impact for the second year in a row, The Elevate Prize is awarding $5 million to 10 innovators, activists, and problem–solvers who are making a difference in their communities every day.

"We want to see extraordinary people leading high-impact projects that are elevating opportunities for all people, elevating issues and their solutions, or elevating understanding of and between people," The Elevate Prize website states.

Founded in 2019 by entrepreneur and philanthropist Joseph Deitch, The Elevate Prize is dedicated to giving unsung social entrepreneurs the necessary resources to scale their impact and to ultimately help inspire and awaken the hero in all of us.

"The Elevate Prize remains committed to finding a radically diverse group of innovative problem solvers and investing unconventional and personalized resources that bring greater visibility to them as leaders and the vital work they do. We make good famous," said Carolina García Jayaram, executive director, Elevate Prize Foundation.

The application process will take place in two phases. Applicants have till May 5 for Phase 1, which will include a short written application. A select number of those applicants will then be chosen for Phase 2, which includes a more robust set of questions later this summer. Ten winners will be announced in October 2021.

In addition to money, winners will also receive support from The Elevate Prize to help amplify their mission, achieve their goals, and receive mentorship and industry connections.

Last year, 1,297 candidates applied for the prize.

The 10 winners include Simprints, a UK-based nonprofit implementing biometric solutions to give people in the developing world hope and access to a better healthcare system; ReThink, a patented, innovative app that detects offensive messages and gives users a chance to reconsider posting them; and Guitars Over Guns, an organization bridging the opportunity gap for youth from vulnerable communities through transformational access to music, connectivity, and self-empowerment.

You can learn more about last year's winners, here.

If you know of someone or you yourself are ready to scale your impact, apply here today.

Maybe it's because I'm a writer, but I'm a bit of a pen snob. Even if I'm just making a list, I look for a pen that grips well, flows well, doesn't put too much or too little ink into the paper, is responsive-but-not-too-responsive to pressure, and doesn't suddenly stop working mid-stroke.

In other words, the average cheap ballpoint pen is out. (See? Snob.)

However, Oscar Ukono is making me reevaluate my pen snobbery. Because while I'm over here turning up my nose at the basic Bic, he's using them to create things like this:

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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