The PossAbilities Speaker’s Bureau consists of PossAbilities members and community advocates that represent the program at a variety of speaking engagements. By sharing their stories and unique perspective on life, they are role models and inspire each of us to do our part to make the world a better place. Our speakers are available to speak at schools, community organizations, corporate meetings and retreats, social clubs, churches, etc. Call (909) 558-6384 for more details or to book a speaking engagement.
MEET OUR SPEAKERS!
In Aug 1988, Greg Crouse was serving overseas as a Cannon Crewman on a Howitzer Battery in the US Army. While a pedestrian on a weekend furlough from Duty, Greg was struck by a drunk driver on a motorcycle, rupturing his stomach, cracking his hips, shattering his left femur in four places, and severing his left leg below the knee. Crouse was Heli-lifted to the nearest Euro Hospital to be treated, flat lining twice, once on the Helicopter in route and once on the operating table. Recovery and physical therapy ensued for over 18 months stateside. Upon his honorable service discharge, Greg drifted aimlessly and fell into a bleak and dark period in the ‘90’s. Not finding himself again until his discovery of adaptive sports and activities in 2001 with other disabled Veterans and motivated athletes. Greg has represented the United States 4 times now in international competition in outrigger canoeing and hopes to continue to achieve his goals in Hungary (2011), Calgary (2012), and secure the first ever Open Men’s “Para-canoe” selection in the 2016. Greg is a professionally trained speaker and is available to conduct hospital and home visits as well as to speak at corporate events.
Since the injury that cost him his left leg, André Barbieri has developed a passion for triathlons. In 2010, Andre fell victim to a snowboarding accident that culminated in the amputation of his left leg. Andre suffered a compound fracture to his femur that severed his femoral artery, tore the nerves and veins in his leg, and he nearly died after losing a lot of blood. As a member of Team PossAbilities, Andre has worked with prosthetists at Loma Linda University Medical Center East Campus to develop a biking leg and a running leg that will allow him to train and compete in paratriathlon events. His dream is to one day compete in the Paralympics Games! Andre is to conduct hospital and home visits as well as to speak at corporate events.
Hi! My name is Kibsaim Alicia Garcia. I’m 26 years old and have been a paraplegic for 22 years now. I was hit by a city bus when I was 4 years old. After an eight-month stay at the hospital, I was left with a body cast, and a broken arm, wrist, spine, knees and legs. I have learned to live my life with my disability and do not let it keep me from doing anything I want to do. Today I am a wife, a mother of two and a business owner. I am 100 percent independent and need no assistance to do any of my everyday activities. I drive, dress myself, cook, clean, shower and care for my kids and husband. I am honestly unbelievably blessed and am thankful for everyone and everything that has impacted my life, including my disability. I’ve learned that we are never given anything we can’t handle, and it takes a strong person to keep pushing forward. Giving up is easy and I’m too thankful to let this disability keep me down. Twenty-two years ago, specialists told my mom I wouldn’t live after my accident. Yet I’m more alive than ever. One of the things I wish I could change after my accident was having someone there by my side like myself who had gone through this hard experience to tell me everything would be OK. But I didn’t; therefore, I would like to be that person for someone else in need. I would like to share my experience and help others learn how to do things and how to still be independent. A helping hand can go a long way. There’s no better feeling than to know someone lives a better life because of something you did. That’s exactly why I put time aside to spend time with people who are having a hard time with their disability. Loma Linda has been one of the best hospitals where I have ever been treated. I have had a major back surgery and both C-sections there. I have never had a bad experience. Both doctors and nurses make you feel right at home and truly show that they care about your well-being. Loma Linda really goes above and beyond to accommodate your every need. When I had my back surgery, they took care of my mom’s stay at the Ronald McDonald hotel. Just so she could spend as much time as possible by my side in what was one of the hardest times of my childhood-at no cost to her. For these reasons and many more, I would love an opportunity to spend time at Loma Linda helping others. I hope that I can make a difference in someone’s life. I hope that when my children grow up, they can also follow in my footsteps and want to be that helping hand and know the importance of it.
My name is Zimri Solis I was born on December 31, 1982 in a city called Ocotlan Jalisco, Mexico. I was diagnosed with meningitis, meningococcal, at the age of 10 years old. My parents were not familiar with the symptoms I was having and it created panic. They decided to take me to Claremont Hospital. I was there for a couple of hours waiting before the doctors realized my condition was much more serious than they thought. My parents noticed a helicopter was landing to pick someone up, little did they know that the helicopter was there to pick me up. I was air lifted to Loma Linda University Medical Center where at the time of landing I was pronounced dead; I had no vital signs. Everyone was praying for me and at some point my vitals came back. The doctors explained to my parents that amputations had to be done in order to stop the virus from spreading; at this point my parents did not know what decision to make. The doctors when ahead with the surgery to complete the amputations and I was kept in a coma for 4 months. After waking up from my coma it was like being reborn. I had to learn how to walk and use my limbs all over again. After being discharged I started my rehabilitation process, which is when I met Dr. Murray Brandstater who has been there since day one helping through all of my rehabilitation, support, and surgeries. Today I work for Wal-Mart logistics and I am a forklift operator for the receiving department and I have adapted very well in my jobs. I’m currently in the process of going back to school and getting my associates degree in radiology. I’m part of the PossAbilities program and a Peer Visitor to other patients who are currently in the hospital with recent limb loss or other illness or injury as a mentor to them and to find ways to give back and get the satisfaction of helping others with physical disabilities.