JUSTIN SKEESUCK & PATRICK GRAY
Inspirational Adventurers, Lifelong Friends
Two best friends, Justin Skeesuck and Patrick Gray, walked The Way of St. James, more commonly known as the Camino de Santiago, a 500-mile epic pilgrimage across the vast terrain of northern Spain. What is unique about this journey is the fact that Skeesuck was pushed in a wheelchair by Gray and others the entire way.
Born a little over 36 hours apart in the same town and in the same hospital, they have grown up together, traveled together, and navigated many of life’s challenges together.
Justin Skeesuck enjoyed a prolific career as a graphic designer until a progressive neuromuscular disease finally robbed him of the use of his arms and legs. From each morning until night, he requires daily assistance in every aspect of life such as eating, getting dressed, bathing and even using the restroom. Though immensely challenging, Skeesuck has never decreased his capacity to live life to the fullest and maintains a positive attitude through it all.
In the spring of 2012, Skeesuck asked Gray what he thought about tackling the Camino. Gray’s response was simple and direct: “I’ll push you.” Two years later, they started their journey and had no idea how they would make the 500 miles from France to the Cathedral of Santiago; over several mountain ranges like the Pyrenees, through rivers, and across the vast desert of Spain called the Meseta…they just knew they had to get there.
Through it all, Skeesuck and Gray had to rely on the help and strength of friends, acquaintances and even complete strangers in order to navigate the many challenges they faced on their 34-day journey.
Since returning from Spain, they have used their heartfelt storytelling to share the comical details of their journey…the joys, the struggles, the beautiful relationships, and the lessons they learned in faith, hope, love and friendship. Together they speak on the power of community and relationships in accomplishing seemingly impossible tasks, the importance of self-leadership and its impact on company results, faith, friendship, and what it takes to overcome the limitations life has given you. Their goal is that people will walk away recognizing that each life is not defined by its limitations, but is defined by what is accomplished in spite of those limitations.
A husband and father of three children, Skeesuck looks at every new chapter of life as a challenge to be conquered. Professionally, he is called “The Disabled Traveler,” who teaches and encourages individuals with limited mobility to travel anywhere they choose. Additionally, he consults with tourism-centric and health care organizations to bring greater access to the disabled community.
Gray is also a husband and father of three children. A registered nurse and former health care administration director, he uses his skill sets and expertise to assist Skeesuck in traveling and with the many aspects of The Disabled Traveler.
Skeesuck and Gray have been featured and interviewed on NBC, ABC, Fox & Friends, The Huffington Post, People.com, The Meredith Vieira Show and worldwide news media outlets, and recently delivered a TEDx Talk.
Both Skeesuck and Gray are based out of the Boise, Idaho area.
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