Friday, 30 May 2014

CTV Ottawa - Amazing People

Hi Friends,

Yesterday evening and earlier today I had the distinct honour of being profiled on CTV Ottawa’s Amazing People series.  It was a whirlwind week of shooting an outdoor interview both around our home in Manotick (south of Ottawa) and on the banks of the Rideau River in close proximity.  Suggesting a location which is usually a deserted and quiet "off the beaten path" trail leading to the water's edge didn't exactly pan out.  We were all continuously swarmed by an infestation of insects, an unusual amount of pleasure boat traffic and a mix of sun and cloud which drove Mark the camerman rather mad due to the infrequent background noise, the constantly changing lighting condition while swatting away bugs.  My dear friend and new host of the TV series Ms. Leanne Cusack kept joking that for a man with many good ideas, my choice of shoot locations was not one of the better ones!  In any event we all persevered and although almost bitten alive managed to get most of our points across.

The main interview was broadcast yesterday evening at 6:30 pm on our local news channel and I've received plenty of positive feedback from family, friends and viewers.  I was quite impressed that Leanne and her editor were able to tell my life's story in a powerful and succinct 4 minute segment.  Earlier this afternoon we then followed up with another live interview at the CTV studio in the heart of Ottawa's busy Byward Market whereby we had the opportunity to expand upon the original broadcast over a 15 minute time slot.  My gratitude goes out to my partner Mary Anne McPhee and good friend Larry McClosky for taking time out of their day to join me in the studio and talk about their own perspectives on our relationship, disability issues and what the future has in store. 

For your information the Amazing People series has been running since 2012 and every February there is a large gala evening held at the Ottawa Convention Centre celebrating all of the individuals profiled throughout the year with one person being voted as the most amazing person of all.  To view the broadcast, please click on the following link.

           Stay tuned for my next Quadrant which will be posted at the end of June.  If you liked what you’ve read and watched, please send me your comments and “likes” while sharing this story with your network of friends.  I hope to see you on the sunny side of the mountain!

About Me

My photo

Skiing and Film Career:

 

At age 15, Mike Nemesvary set his goal to become the best freestyle skier in the world.  By the mid 1980's he held more than 40 titles in his sport including 3 World Cup Victories; 18 World Cup Podiums; 3 European; 11 Canadian and 5 British Championships.  Mike also developed a successful sideline as a skier and stunt performer in a number of television commercials, programs and feature films including James Bond’s “A View to a Kill” and Willy Bogner’s “Fire and Ice.” 

 

Spinal Cord Injury:

 

On May 18th, 1985 Mike’s life dramatically changed during a routine trampoline workout when he attempted a double twisting, double back somersault and blacked-out, landing on his neck instantly becoming a high level quadriplegic, paralysed from the chest down and losing full use of his legs, arms and hands.  Following months of intensive rehabilitation Mike picked up the pieces and began to rebuild his life.  He moved into an accessible home, learned to drive a modified sports car and became a proficient sit skier.  Wanting to share his life-affirming approach he started “The Back Up Trust”; a very successful UK-Based charity raising more than $20 million to enable people with spinal cord injuries to reintegrate back into society and surpass their aspirations by facilitating challenging sports.

 

Speaking Career and Disability Advocacy:

 

After completing his post-secondary education in Commerce, Mike developed and honed his skills to become a passionate, powerful and outspoken disability advocate.  He has represented many Not-For-Profit organizations including: World Committee on Disability; March of Dimes; Tetra Society of North America and National Access Awareness Week.  In 1992 he formed Mike Nemesvary & Associates and enjoys a successful and rewarding career as a professional speaker presenting 100's of keynotes, seminars and workshops to local, national and international organizations.  Some of his prestigious clients include: Pfizer Pharmaceutical Company; General Motors Corporation; Bell Canada; National Research Council; Canada Customs and Revenue Agency; Health Canada and the Canadian Injury Prevention Foundation.

 

‘Round the World Challenge:

 

Mike then decided to take the ultimate challenge by becoming the first quadriplegic to drive unassisted around the world.  More than 7 years in development, the ‘Round the World Challenge was a grueling circumnavigation lasting 7 months, through 20 countries and clocking more than 40,000 kilometres.  While navigating some of the most treacherous roads, enduring the most extreme weather conditions and temperatures on the planet, Mike also surmounted continual inaccessible stops and accommodations in an unrelenting, exhausting daily schedule.  During the formidable odyssey, Mike also managed to visit 40 medical institutions, gave 52 speaking engagements and wrote weekly columns.  The ‘Round the World Challenge successfully culminated in the Fall of 2001 and raised more than $1.5 million for spinal cord injury rehabilitation and research. His accomplishments received numerous honours and recognition in many countries including the “Key to the City” in Ottawa and the “Meritorious Service Medal” from the Governor General of Canada.

 

Personal Life:

 

Mike’s remarkable life has been extensively chronicled as the subject of six international and award winning television documentaries in addition to numerous magazine, newspaper articles, radio interviews and television appearances.  Mike presently resides south of Ottawa with his Partner, Mary Anne McPhee and “Sassy” and “Jigger”, both Labrador Retrievers “Certified Assistance Dogs”.  In his spare time Mikes enjoys sit-skiing, scuba diving, swimming, writing, backgammon, listening to music and playing the harmonica.