When it comes to accomplishing your goals, Kacey McCallister thinks it’s all about mind over matter.
Kacey would know about overcoming obstacles better than most people. When he was just six, he darted out in front of a semi-truck and ended up having both of his legs amputated. As a child he had to relearn how to live his life, and soon he discovered that he felt at his strongest and most independent when he was pushing himself athletically.
“My name is Kacey McCallister. I can do anything. So can you,” Kacey states on his website. “I have learned to live a life I couldn’t have had if I had accepted limitations.”
Pushing his limits helped Kacey cope with his new physical impairment, and by the time he was in high school he had become a three sport athlete. Kacey competed in cross country races, wheelchair basketball, and wrestling for McNary High School in Salem, Oregon. He even earned the prestigious National Wrestling Hall of Fame Medal of Courage in 2011.
“There were so many times in my life when I could have quit. A lot of people told me exactly when I could have quit, but that’s not who I am. In life, if you have a goal you have to find a way to make it happen. You have to rise up and find a way to accomplish your dreams.”
As an adult, Kacey set his sights on even bigger challenges. Now married with five children, he regularly competes in “tough mudder” courses and other road and obstacle races. As other runners pound the pavement with their feet, Kacey runs the races on his hands and still manages to set impressive time records.
“From a very early age I learned that life is to be lived, not just survived. Even before the accident I knew life was an adventure. After the accident I found the ability to conquer unimaginable things. ‘I can do hard things’ has been a way of life for me. I mean, who could imagine that a guy without legs could complete a 50 mile hike, make it to State Championship Wrestling, or become an Eagle Scout?”
His most recent accomplishment was finishing a grueling 13-mile Spartan race. These races are filled with obstacles and involve scaling walls, navigating monkey bars, army crawling through the dirt, and of course, running for miles on end. Even people with no physical handicapped would be intimidated by the fierceness of this race course, yet Kacey saw it as just one more challenge to set his sights on and overcome.
“Disability is in your mind. There’s people out there with a totally functioning body that have this mental block, and that’s all it is for anybody, it’s a mental block that says ‘I can’t do this because.'”
Not only is Kacey dedicated to bettering his own life through physical fitness and athletic achievements, he’s determined to help others overcome their own challenges as well. He now tours the country as a motivational speaker, heading up an organization called “Rise Up” that encourages people to break free of those mental blocks to accomplish their goals.
“Throughout my life there have been few if any challenges that I have not been able to succeed in accomplishing. Trials make us stronger. They raise us up to a higher plain. If we are never pushed and challenged we can never obtain our full potential. For me it was losing my legs. For you, it may be school, work, parenting, or just dealing with the complexities of day-to-day life. Regardless of what your challenge is, you too can find a way to RISE UP!”
Next time you’re tempted to tell yourself that you can’t do something, remember that Kacey is regularly out there finishing intense races with no legs. We truly can do whatever we want to do no matter what happens. Breaking free of those negative voices in the back of your mind is the first step!
Watch double amputee Kacey McCallister competing in the Spartan race below, and be sure to share his inspiring story of strength and redemption with others.
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