Two years later, at only 5-foot-4 and 230-pounds, Wes was non-athletic and vastly overweight as a single father, working full time at an auto finance company and had just won sole custody of his then 2-year-old daughter. But only 5 days after his 24th birthday (January of 2012), everything about Wes’s life changed dramatically. As he was walking back to his car, Wes was shot multiple times, with one bullet slicing through his chest and fracturing a rib. The other entered his abdomen, partially severing his spine and paralyzing him below the waist. The shooter was a guy he’d never met.
Wes spent the next three years in recovery, which also included two of those years fighting the severe emotional depression that arose from his belief that his life would forever be bedeviled by medications, surgeries and limitations.
But for the overwhelming love he had for his daughter, Wes knew he had to set an example for Nevaeh. He started down a path of taking ownership back in his life. He started a fitness and nutrition regiment, which was completely foreign to him – as he never ate healthy a day in his life, nor had any experience exercising. Wes learned everything he could about nutrition and started cooking (and now is known for his culinary skills). The fitness side of everything also took off, and in the first year lead him to lose 100 pounds – which is incredible, especially for a man who doesn’t have the use of his legs. He became a powerhouse of inspiration and felt his transformation had the potential to help others who are struggling similar battles, so he founded a non-profit called, Disabled But Not Really (DBNR). DBNR has helped so many individuals with disabilities (not just physical) to feel empowered and has helped so many lives overcome any mental limitations they may have – which is the driving force of the organization. The passion Wes has for DBNR is passion for DBNR is evident by its expansion. DBNR joins community events to raise awareness about the role of good mental and physical health in overcoming life’s challenges. It has expanded a scholarship program for disabled individuals who learn ways to improve their nutrition and fitness, as well as support the homeless population in his hometown of Kansas City providing dignity care packages, water, and food. Wes has been recognized many times for his entrepreneurial success, and has been honored with a number of philanthropic awards.
Wes has also spent the past four years being recognized role-model in the Crossfit Community, winning a number of bodybuilding competitions, even being featured in Men’s Health Magazine climbing a rope with his wheelchair. He has had the opportunity to speak to many community groups, schools, universities, organizations and associations sharing his story and inspiring so many lives. He has a stack of hero letters from all ages thanking him for sharing his story. Wes transformed yet again when working with the Fab Five on Season 4 of the Netflix hit show, Queer Eye, who taught him how to be true to himself, leaving him humbled by the experience. Wes believes that the highest human act is to inspire – and knows that is his purpose in life.
- Living Your Best Life
Prepare to be taken on a journey. In this moving, inspiring and thought-provoking keynote, Wesley Hamilton teaches his audience to find peace, purpose, and happiness and motivates them to rise above any obstacle or challenge they may face so they can live their best life. As a survivor of multiple gunshot wounds to the abdomen leaving him paralyzed from the waist down, Wesley shares his personal journey from how he went from hopeless and depressed to a life full of purpose, understanding, acceptance, joy and forgiveness. Now that he lives a life filled with love, happiness, gratitude, and success beyond what he could have ever imagined prior to his accident, he helps inspire others to do the same. Through the power of storytelling, Wesley entwines powerful life lessons, encouragement, and inspiration allowing his audience to understand the answers to some of life’s biggest questions, and how to continue to remain positive during the toughest times in our lives. Wes leaves his audience beyond motivated and with a rejuvenated perspective on life.
- Mastering Your Potential
This keynote teaches people how anyone can take control of their life, specifically addressing wellness, nutrition, well-being and personal/professional development. Wesley shares his stories on how he started a successful non-profit organization; how he stays fit, even winning bodybuilding competitions; how he never lost hope or accepted failure – and teaches his listeners how to do the same. Wes also has a culinary passion, and shares his success secrets on how he lost over 100 pounds. This is a great keynote for all ages, and will leave you with key insights and action steps to improve and master your own life. People can relax and sit back, laugh, learn and feel supported.
- From Paralyzed to Purpose-Driven- My Inspirational Story
Wesley Hamilton’s journey after surviving multiple gunshots in his abdomen will inspire every human on the earth. His quintessential stories of courage, strength and perseverance resonates with participants long after any talk he’s ever delivered. Wes instills the essential tools of positivity, self-awareness, empowerment, resilience, and acceptance in the face of any challenge. He believes “the highest human act is to inspire” – and that is exactly why he is profoundly affecting human hearts of all ages, races, lifestyles and backgrounds worldwide.
- The Power of Diversity & Inclusion
Wesley Hamilton is living proof of why inclusivity and diversity can be a powerful asset to any team. Diversity is understanding, accepting, and valuing differences between people; while inclusion is creating a collaborative, supportive, and respectful culture and environmental feeling of belonging for all people. Although Wesley is an incredibly successful entrepreneur — he still faces challenges every day that limit him due to the fact he is in a wheelchair. This keynote was designed to create awareness to organizations and educational institutions, and emphasize the vital importance of having both a diverse in inclusive culture.