Aron Anderson took what he had and made the best of it. Spinal cord injury has never limited him, as he scales mountains (like Kilmanjaro), swims the seas (Sea of Aland) and goes on adventures to places very few people go – in a wheelchair or not. His latest achievement was winning his second consecutive Red Bull Wings For Life World Run. We caught up with him before his TEDx speech in Zagreb, that will be held on november 29th in Kino Europa, to chat about his story and hear some words of inspiration. For more information about the TEDx event and the program visit http://tedxzagreb.com/.
Do you remember what was the first thing that crossed your mind when you first heard about Wings for Life World Run?
I want to take part in that race! Both because it was a race for a great cause but also because it was a race that was a completely new concept which really fascinated me.
What does this race mean to you? Do you find it future changing?
It means so much! It means hope for people with spinal cord injuries and for me it also means working my butt off, and of course celebrating after winning it twice.
Did you meet any new friends for life at the Wings for Life World Run?
Yeah, I've met a lot of great people. For example all the great people working at Red Bull Dubai. So when I was in Dubai earlier this year taking my skydiving license I had the chance to do a motivational talk for their athletes in the region which was a lot of fun.
Are you getting more motivated to participate as years go by, or are you as motivated as the first time you decided to participate?
As a defending champion I always need to improve to be able to defend my title - so motivation is still high!
How does your typical day look like? Do you encounter many obstacles in everyday life?
I work as a professional athlete/adventurer and motivational speaker. So a day for me revolves around travelling and speaking to companies all over the world, lots of training and preparation for new adventures, working with social media, doing interviews, working with sponsors and of course hanging out with my girlfriend and our dog. No, I'm so used to beeing in a wheelchair so I've learned to naviagate all the obstacles of everyday life.
You are a very active person, can you tell us if there are some other sports you like?
haha I love far to many sports! Right now I'm really into skydiving and surfski paddling. I took my skydiving license this spring in Dubai and I have to say I really love the feeling of jumping out of a plane at 4000m.
How do you prepare for a Wings for Life World Run, or any race whatsoever?
First of all: lots of physical training of all kinds. I cross-train a lot to stay away from injuries. I also do a lot of mental preparation to be mentally ready for the challenge.
What are your expectations regarding the outcome of raising funds for spinal cord injuries?
I'm hoping that we eventually get to a place where spinal cord injuries can be cured. And I think the only way there is through lots of research.
This year you won second consecutive global championship crown in Florida, where do you plan to take your third? :)
I'm leaning towards Florida again, but not really 100% sure yet.
When did you realize you want to motivate others living with spinal cord injury?
Five years ago I climbed the highest mountain of Sweden (Kebnekaise) as the first person in a wheelchair. After that I got a ton of messages from people saying how inspired they were by my performance. So that started me in this direction to become an adventurer and motivational speaker.
What is the message that you would like to share with the World?
To me - Life it not about what abilities we have. Is about what we do with those abilities. So make the most with what you have!