Kacey McCallister is an incredible human who brings his inspirational message of overcoming challenges, no matter what the circumstances, to the entire world.
And McCallister knows all about challenges. His life has never been one of calm indifference. From a very early age he learned that life is to be lived, not just survived. When he was 6 years old, he lost one leg when he darted in front of an oncoming truck. His other leg was so badly damaged in the accident that it, too, had to be amputated.
While this tragedy might have left him sitting on the sidelines, McCallister instead learned to do things his way – and went on to become a three-sport athlete in cross country, wheelchair basketball, and wresting, earning district titles in both cross country and wresting as a student at McNary High School in Salem.
In 2011 he was honored with the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Medal of Courage.
“I can do hard things has been a way of life for me. I mean, who could imagine that a guy without legs could complete a 50 mile hike, make it to State Championship Wrestling, or become an Eagle Scout? My mom told me soon after the accident that if I wanted to do something all I had to do was figure out a way to make it happen.”
His sheer determination led him to become a cross country district runner and to place second at the state wrestling tournament for McNary High School.
In 2011, McCallister was inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and received its Courage Award. He was the first McNary student so honored. In addition to his runner-up finish at the state wrestling tournament, he won two district titles and finished fourth at state.
Now 30 years old, McCallister regularly competes in marathons and challenging mud runs.
He is married and has five children with an education career from Western Oregon University and is a substitute teacher when he isn’t on a speaking tour.
“You know who’s going to build that better world? It’s the youth. Children will do things that are now considered impossible.”
McCallister said running a mile in less than four minutes was once considered impossible, as was putting humans on the moon and even flying in an airplane.
“Impossible is simply a word that means I haven’t done something yet, everything is possible. Nothing is impossible.”
Even before the accident he knew life was an adventure. After the accident he found the ability to conquer unimaginable things.
“Throughout my life there have been few if any challenges that I have not been able to succeed in accomplishing. Trials make us stronger. They raise us up to a higher plain. If we are never pushed and challenged we can never obtain our full potential. For me it was losing my legs.”
“For you, it may be school, work, parenting, or just dealing with the complexities of day-to-day life. Regardless of what your challenge is, you too can find a way to RISE UP!”
Watch his inspirational video below: