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How ‘Disabled But Not Really’ Is Empowering People with Disabilities

By: Jessica MousseauDiversity Insights

After surviving a life-altering shooting that left Wesley Hamilton reliant on wheelchair-bound at 24, he discovered the importance of not only nutrition and fitness, but also mental health. Motivated by his daughter, he embarked on a transformative journey to get healthier. “I adopted a fitness and nutrition routine, lost 100 pounds in a year, and became a role model in the fitness community,” Hamilton said. “Inspired by my own transformation, I founded Disabled Not Really (DBNR) to encourage others with disabilities to pursue their potential.”

Founded in 2015, Disabled But Not Really (DBNR), a 501(c)3 Not For Profit Charity based out of Kansas City, Missouri. The organization aims to help people living with disabilities realize their purpose through adaptive training and lifestyle enhancements as a toolset to excel in life. Although Hamilton’s doctors and caretakers helped him to feel comfortable, they did not equip him with the tools to fully adapt to life’s new challenges.

Daily Impacts on People With Disabilities

After taking ownership of his own health and fitness, Hamilton was convinced he could help others do the same. The word “disabled” carries a lot of societal perceptions that Hamilton aims to shatter. “Not really” signifies breaking the mold of what is considered the norm. Hamilton embodies the spirit of Disabled But Not Really every day and he works with his team to inspire the same mentality in others living with disabilities.

DBNR relies on individual donors to fund its impactful programs and hosts community events to additional fundraising throughout the year.

#HelpMeFit Program

The #HelpMeFit Challenge is a 12-week holistic program aimed at enhancing the well-being of DBNR athletes, especially those affected by conditions such as amputation, cerebral palsy, and traumatic brain injury, among others. Beyond physical fitness, it offers valuable nutritional and mental health insights.

Its intensive approach improves functionality, muscle development, and posture while also providing mental health benefits such as reduced pain and depression. Tailored to cultivate a long-lasting positive mindset, participants are empowered to sustain momentum even after completing the program.

“Our biggest accomplishment as an organization is the daily impact we make through our programs,” Hamilton said. “These programs empower individuals with disabilities to discover their purpose and forge a new reality for themselves. The success stories of the individuals we serve testify to our achievement.”

What Lies Ahead

Expansion is in the future. As DBNR brings on more staff, they plan to introduce virtual services to help those outside of the Kansas City Metro Area. In the meantime, a mobile gym serves those who don’t live in the local area.

In reflecting on what’s to come, Hamilton shared his vision:  “Over the next five years, we envision expanding into a larger facility and scaling our model to serve multiple communities. Our driving principle is that all individuals with disabilities deserve the chance for a better life, and we are committed to making that vision a reality.”

To learn more about Disabled But Not Really or to donate to their cause, visit their website.

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