ST. CLOUD -- A three-time Paralympian addressed a room of students at St. Cloud State University this (Monday) afternoon speaking on no matter the obstacle anything is possible.

What people see as a disability, Motivational Speaker Aaron Cross others see a person with unique gifts.

Cross had big dreams growing up, but an accident at 15 took those dreams away.

"I got sent to a bicycle race and the bike race went bad," says Cross. "A support vehicle stopped in front of me and I came around the corner at about 38 mph, hit the back of the van and snapped my neck in three places and paralyzed me instantly."

However that didn't stop him from making new dreams and living life.

"I've had friends come up to me and say would you just once in your life act like being in a wheelchair and I looked at them and said no I'm Aaron the chair is just how I get around," says Cross.

Cross competed in archery in the 1996, 2000 and 2004 Paralympic games. He says while athletes with disabilities compete in the games, they are still some of the top athletes in the world.

"We're talking downhill skiing for the blind, we're talking wheelchair racers that push the marathon (26.2 miles) in an hour and three minutes," says Cross.

Over the last 14 years Cross has been sharing his story, bringing awareness of the abilities within everyone especially people with disabilities.

"I put the word disability up on the board and I have simulation they go through and I show them pictures of paralympic athletes and ask the group what do you see and they say an ability," says Cross.

Cross says the goal behind his speaking is to let everyone see that no matter what the obstacle we face, we are all the same and can achieve anything.

"I hope people start seeing we are people and that's the way it should be. That's the way it should be, we are all people," says Cross.

The Ability Event was put on by the School of Health and Human Services at St. Cloud State University.


Motivation Speaker Aaron Cross talks about how he turned his disability into an ability. (Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON News)