Award Winning Motivational / Humorous Speaker Chris Hopkins, tells his amazing story.
By, Sandra Goldsmith
Every now and then, a seemingly regular person steps up and amazes everyone, by accomplishing something that few would even dare. This is a story about such a person, who after surviving a life altering accident, surprised everyone with his fearless attempts at what he considered to be his fate. His name is Chris Hopkins, and this is his story.
Millions watched Chris Hopkins “Mr. Never Give Up,” on live TV, as he defied all odds, proving his doctors wrong and proving to everyone else, that anything is possible, providing you never give up. Chris was 21, when he accidentally severed his left arm while using a power saw. The first thing, Chris defied was death, barely surviving the original horrific accident, due to severe blood loss. Multiple people were responsible for saving Chris’s life that day. After multiple reattachment surgeries, Chris’s doctor, referring to his long term prognosis, stated that "Chris may regain some use of his hand in the future, but feeling and dexterity will always be an issue. IHe will be able to do some things with his hand, but he will never be able to juggle.” Of course, that wasn’t the plan anyway, but Chris was bothered by the statement. After years in a cast with numerous follow-up surgeries and physical therapy, Chris could still not feel his thumb, index and middle fingers, nor could he move them. Seven years after the accident without feeling back and very little movement, Chris taught himself to juggle.
Chris began working with several prosthetic limb foundations, raising money for prosthetics for children. In a TV interview in 2009 Chris said “I am very fortunate to have my arm, it’s not perfect, but I am very satisfied with my recovery. The least I can do with my re-attached arm, is utilize this opportunity to help provide children with a prosthetic limb, as well as send a message of encouragement and to never give up.” In 2008, Chris had an idea for a fundraiser, as well as a chance to send an encouraging message, after his devastating injury. So, Chris decided he was going to ride a unicycle, while juggling, to the top of Mount Diablo, in California (12 miles to the top, 4,000 foot vertical climb). Chris called the event “Reach the Peak.” Everyone thought it would be impossible, but soon the local paper, wrote a story, then radio, then TV. In fact the event was covered on live TV.
Chris showed up to the base of the mountain early the morning of the event, the mountain top was covered by clouds. Chris later said “the mountain never looked so big, what have I gotten myself into.” After passing the half way marker, it was certainly more difficult than Chris had originally anticipated. Knowing the second half was the steepest and most challenging, he was sure he wouldn’t make it. Every time Chris glanced at the peak, he was certain it looked farther away and seemed impossible. Perhaps, he had taken on too much! Chris learned early on, that giving up was not an option, as well as also learned to deal with unimaginable pain for long periods of time. Chris stopped focusing on the peak, which seemed too far away and simply focused on the next turn 50-70 yards away, then on to the next turn and on to the next…“Now I’m not just riding a unicycle, up a mountain while juggling, I am also praying,” Chris later said on a TV interview. Chris had a rhythm that he juggled to ”don’t stop till you reach the top, don’t stop till you reach the top…”Chris kept this up until he reached his three quarter marker, at that point Chris later said “I knew that nothing was going to stop me from making it to the top, I made it this far, I will make it to the top. I represent disabled children, who know what it’s like to suffer, and understand what it’s like to have things stand in their way! My message is a simple one…never ever give up!” The energy to keep going isn’t coming from his legs at this point; this energy is coming from his heart! Needless to say, Chris made it to the top of Mount Diablo that day; conquering the mountain like no has ever done before!
The next year as a PTA Legislation Representative, Chris Hopkins rode 100 miles on his unicycle to meet with Governor Schwarzenegger to help raise money for education and delivering the Governator a working calculator from the children of Montair School in Danville, CA. (Again on live television). A police escort took Chris the last mile to the Capitol.
The year after that Chris Hopkins finished “Reach the Peak 2,” 28 miles up and down the mountain juggling on his unicycle again. Raising money for the LN-4 Prosthetic Hand Foundation as well along with the Wheelchair Foundation.
On November 3rd, 2012, Chris rode his unicycle up and down Mount Diablo, while juggling, to promote education (California, Governor Brown’s prop 30).
In all Mr. Hopkins has helped to raising millions of dollars, for prosthetic limbs, wheelchairs and education for children.
“It’s amazing what you can accomplish with one wheel, three balls and a healed person"