They can't walk across a room, but some people can climb a wall and Saturday they showed others just how liberating that can be.
Trying to get to the top of a climbing wall can be daunting for anyone, but imagine trying to climb one with one fewer limb or another physical challenge. That's what folks at Paradox Sports do and they say the higher they climb the more grounded they become.
"There's something magic about moving upward," Sean O'Neill said.
It's one of the only ways O'Neill can move outside of his wheelchair.
"I became paralyzed in 1991 in an accident," he said.
But when asked about what he loves about climbing, O'Neill won't mention his wheels.
"It's just a side thing, like I happen to be paralyzed, right now I'm climbing," he said.
That's the whole idea behind Paradox Sports. O'Neill's brother, Timmy O'Neill, started the non-profit after his brother's accident.
"The best way for me to come to terms with his injury was to invite him into my world of climbing," Timmy O'Neill said.
Saturday they invited in a new group at the University of Central Missouri as they taught climbers adaptive climbing.
The students role-played what it would be like to climb with a disorder like multiple sclerosis.
"Man, I just can't imagine how difficult that would be for them and it really humbles me," said Darius Schnieders.
They also practiced climbing alongside a person with a disability and encouraging them to find different ways to use their bodies.
"When you're hanging from your fingertips up above the ground, it's really important for you to pay attention to your next move," Timmy O'Neill said.
When that's done it's funny how quickly the barriers can disappear and how goals change while still reaching for something higher and beyond oneself.
"It's not the always getting to the top, that's not what measures success in my opinion. Measuring success is accomplishing something in your own mind," Schnieders said.
"I've been through all the stuff of getting myself off the ground, and I know how joyful that is. If I can bring that joy to you, it boomerangs right back at me," Sean O'Neill said.
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