Disabled weightlifters beat the odds, lift spirits - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Disabled weightlifters beat the odds, lift spirits


Lastmonth Newsline 9 introduced you to a remarkable Milwaukee womanremembered for devoting her life to others. Mary "Pink"Mullaney's obituary was posted on social media and it caught our eye.We knew we had to share her story with you.

Pink'sfamily wrote the death announcement incorporating the stories of herlife to serve as words to live by for others. For example, it said"go to church with a chicken sandwich in your purse. Give thechicken sandwich to your homeless friend after mass." "Goto a nursing home. Kiss everyone."

"We'dgo to the grocery store with her and before she'd get out of the carwe'd say promise you won't stop and talk to everybody and kiss everybaby, I can't make that promise she would tell us," said MegVartanian.

We'resorry we didn't have the chance to introduce you to Pink while shewas with us. We wanted to make sure that didn't happen again. That'swhy we're proud to bring you a special Newsline 9 series, "SomeoneYou Should Know."

Tonight,the story of two men who are overcoming obstacles and working as aninspiration to others.

Lyingon his back, Todd Wilk lifts. He cranks out 10 reps.

"Thisis my life, this is the way I want to make it, so I keep doing it,"said Wilk.

Butits not how much weight he can lift, 275 lbs, that's impressive. It'sthe 27 lbs he carries with him everyday that sets him apart.

"Ihave three different wheel chairs, one for the gym, one to go aroundtown and one in my basement too," explains Wilk.

Tenyears ago Wilk became paralyzed from the waist down.

"Itwas a bow hunting accident," explained Wilk. "I fell about 23ft."

Wilklaythere, on the ground, for hours. Wilk couldn't feel a thing, hecouldn't move.

"Somany things were going through my mind but I had a sixth month olddaughter at the time so I just kept thinking I gotta get out of thesewoods," said Wilk.

Hehad completely cut his spinal cord. Doctors told him he'd never walkagain.

"Justput the weight on," said Wilk as he wheeled across the gym floor tothe bench press machine.

Hisaccident hasn't slowed him down.

"I don't see it as a bad thing, it's just something that happened and Ilive on with it," said Wilk.

Everymorning, Wilk is here at the Weston Health Club. He pumps iron,stretches out, gets stronger.

"Ican tell, just doing things around the house that, wow, this is mucheasier now than it was six months ago because I've gotten stronger,"said Wilk.

Wilkisn't the only inspirational story at this same gym. Others here alsolive a life with a disability. It hasn't stopped them either.

"Probablythe hardest thing I'd ever known is learning to tie my shoes."

MeetChad Miller. Miller was born with one hand.

"Icant grip a dumbbell," explained Miller. "Some things are justharder."

Butyou wouldn't know by his long list of activities.

"Iplayed baseball, basketball, football, just like everyone else,"he said.

Andone more; weightlifting.Milleruses a special hook, "using these hooks has basically allowed meto have fingers," explains Miller as he gets ready to bench press.

Thatturns a setback into strength inside this gym.

"WhenI'm done it just comes off that easy," said Miller as heeffortlessly pulls the hook off the weight bar.

"Ifsomebody thinks I can't do it, I want to prove them wrong," saidMiller.

Thatattitude has driven Miller and Wilk to focus on what they have,rather than what they lack.

Makingeach of these men, working to beat the odds, someone you should know

Isyour neighbor, friend, or family member doing something the communityshould know about? Let us know so we can spread the word. Ifyou know someone we should all know, send us an email tosomeone@waow.com.

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