Life with a disability is never easy, as Fred Meyling can attest. Able-bodied individuals often do not understand the capabilities of someone in a wheelchair or with other handicaps, and turn those persons away from various opportunities, including work. That is what Meyling faced as he sought work within his wheelchair following a second spinal cord injury. And that is when Meyling decided to carve his own future toward helping others instead.
A rooftop fall caused Fred Meyling to suffer his first SCI in June 1976. Three years of physical therapy and work later, he was able to walk again. But by 1984, the spine was reinjured and Meyling was in the hospital -- and then he was in a wheelchair. This husband and father to three daughters could not find work post-injury, and only discovered individuals who thought he couldn’t complete the job properly due to his disability. So Meyling dedicated himself to nonprofits in his area, helping others as he could, including those with disabilities. He also found new passions in his post-injury life, such as sailing and flying -- and incorporated them into his nonprofit time. This goal to assist others remains strong today, even as Meyling fights the blood disorder hemochromatosis, which he was diagnosed with two years ago. He undergoes regular treatment, but still strives to seek opportunities to work with others in need and will do the same as he relocates in the near future.