Learning from Kyle Maynard to live life with “no excuses”

It was an honor and privilege having Kyle Maynard speak to the Utah Valley University student body on February 1st, 2018. As a UVUSA Senator, I had the responsibility of helping decide who we’d like to invite as part of our lecture series. We met as a Senate early on in the summer to collaborate ideas, and when his name was brought up I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t know who he was or what his “campaign” was. After doing more research on his story, it was very evident that his message would positively influence our student body. As time progressed, we began having more contact with him; he and his team are some of the most down to earth people I’ve had the privilege of working with. The day of his speaking event on campus came, and all of us senators were given the opportunity to meet with him before he presented his message to campus. We had a couple of hours before his actual event, and most of the speakers we bring to UVU spend this time beforehand resting in their private room or prepping their presentation. I watched as Kyle wheeled himself around our campus, freely and openly going up to students, comfortably conversing with them. I was most impressed that he never hesitated to stick his limbless arm out for people to shake his “hand”. As we ushered him to a pre-lunch event, I witnessed him stop mid-conversation with another Senator, turn his wheelchair around, and approach a student who was also in a wheel chair. I’m unaware of what was discussed during that long conversation, but the light in that student’s eyes as he felt connected to Kyle is a look I’ll never forget.

Kyle Maynard

Kyle’s presentation was astounding. We had over 500 students show up to this event, and as an usher, it was a unique experience to see how enthralled students were as they listened to his story. Kyle was born without arms or legs; as the oldest of his siblings, he shared a story about how his younger sister had a classmate without one arm. Kyle said his sister came home from school one day, telling her mother that this classmate was so inspiring because they don’t hesitate doing what others do. Kyle’s mom responded by agreeing with his sister that this classmate was inspiring, but also, the mother reminded Kyle’s sister about Kyle and all that he’s done. The sister proceeded to say, “Oh you’re right, I forgot Kyle doesn’t have any limbs”.

That story is just a small example of how Kyle continually lives his life with “no excuses”, not allowing his physical disability to affect his daily and long term life. As Kyle told the story of hiking to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro with only bathroom towels wrapped around his arms and legs, I could feel the reverent awe come over the audience and myself. Kyle’s inspiring message of purpose among hardship and not quitting, is one that no individual in that auditorium will ever forget. Engaging with Kyle Maynard and his team to inspire the Utah Valley University population, was a humbling and unifying experience. His personable approach with student’s and his applicable, life impacting message will continually teach myself and the student population that we are strong, and when life feels overwhelming, we have “no excuses” to drop our dreams and goals.

Amelia Cope, College of Humanities and Social Sciences Senator, Utah Valley University Student Association

 

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UVU Review About Kyle Maynard

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STUDENT REFLECTIVE ESSAYS

Andrew Jensen-Award Winning Extreme Athlete Kyle Maynard at UVU: “No Excuses”

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Timothy Jenkins-Inspired by Kyle Maynard

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Ezra Pugliano-Kyle Maynard speaks at Utah Valley University

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Karson Kester-Kyle Maynard on seeking our own “Why?”

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