Paralympian, motivational speaker comes to North Branch Teen Center

At the teen center in North Branch May 12, Aaron Cross showed a group of adolescents a photo of a Paralympic bicycle rider who was able to compete with just one arm and one leg.

“How many of you would say that he has one arm and one leg?” Cross asked. “How many of you would say that he’s missing an arm and a leg?”

One teen said those two questions sounded the same.

“It’s not the same thing,” Cross said. “If you think that you’re missing an arm and a leg, most people think their life is over. He sees what he has: He has one arm and one leg. This guy with one arm and one leg averages a speed on his bicycle of 40 mph.”

Luke Schuler, visiting from the Forest Lake Teen Center, stands by as Cross performs an archery demonstration. Cross has developed a way of shooting where he holds the bow with one arm and pulls back the string and releases it with his mouth. Photo by Derrick Knutson

Luke Schuler, visiting from the Forest Lake Teen Center, stands by as Cross performs an archery demonstration. Cross has developed a way of shooting where he holds the bow with one arm and pulls back the string and releases it with his mouth. Photo by Derrick Knutson

Like the Paralympic biker, Cross sees what he has and uses it to the best of his ability.

Cross is a functional quadriplegic, and he needs a wheelchair to get around. He can move his head and his arms, but he does not have full function of his arms or hands. He cannot move his legs on his own.

“It’s even difficult for me to pick up a dime, because the dime weighs too much for my fingers to grab,” he said.

Cross, a St. Cloud native, wasn’t always a functional quadriplegic. Until the age of 15, he was an elite athlete who could run a mile in less than five minutes, and he biked about 500 miles a week.

Continue reading this ECM Post Review story by Derrick Knutson.

 

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