In the wake of the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles, my family and I attended a send-off celebration for Minnesota athletes traveling to California to compete. We strongly believe in their mission of promoting inclusion and providing opportunity for people with disabilities. It’s making a difference, and we’ve seen it specifically with my brother, Zach, who’s a Special Olympics athlete.
Among the positivity and inspiration floating throughout the room, there was one special story shared on stage by a Special Olympics athlete that left me stunned in my seat. It was Jim. He recalled the emotional ups and downs of living with Cri Du Chat syndrome and played on metaphors of how the opportunities Special Olympics has given him dramatically changed his path. I sat in my chair that evening and knew I had to tell Jim’s story. The next morning, I approached Ed Heil, the owner of StoryTeller, and he agreed within seconds.
I called Jim shortly after the event and within a few weeks we were sitting in Jim’s living room, capturing moments, struggles and triumphs from his life’s journey.
"I always felt there was something missing from my life.This is why I run."
Stories like Jim’s are the lifeblood of video storytelling. Telling Jim’s story allowed us to dive in head first, making up our own rules along the way. A true gift for any artist. I guess it goes without saying that good stories, the kind that make you feel something, are the heartbeat of what we do at StoryTeller. If we see an opportunity to share an impactful and inspiring story, we’re all in.
Jim breaks barriers, stereotypes and judgments of people with disabilities. Not to mention ignites a fire within all of us to keep pushing, keep trying, keep running. He's a true inspiration. No wonder the CEO of Red Wing Shoes told us that Jim was the most important of his 2,000 employees.
Watch his story and you’ll see why I was stapled to my seat the night I listened to him speak. This story was nominated and won a 2016 Regional Emmy® Award.