Posted on Leave a comment

This Changed My Personal and Professional Life

Text written on a wall reads, "Dream Big and Work Hard! Jean Driscoll. 10-6-18. Boston Marathon. 1996, '91, '92, '93, '94, '95, '96, 2008

By Ryan Wilson

Team Trust, CEO

I grew up in the middle of cornfields in a small town in Illinois.

It seemed I was the only person in the entire county in a wheelchair, though that is not statistically accurate.

When I transitioned to the University of Illinois, an hour and a half away from home, I encountered, almost immediately, extremely talented athletes with disabilities and massive hearts.

They let me into their communities and worlds.

It was amazing.

At the same time, I noticed most media outlets — radio, newspaper, TV, digital — were not covering these athletes. 

It was disappointing, and certainly a missed opportunity.

So, I assembled a few friends, and we proposed to create what was the only Paralympic-specific radio program in the nation at the University of Illinois.

Our pitch was successful, and we eventually landed a Friday drive-time slot.

We interviewed many of the greatest athletes in the world in our studio, even the one and only Jean Driscoll.

She, like all our other friends who visited the studio, signed the wall.

The show did fizzle out after my graduation, but it unquestionably inspired the creation of Team Trust.

There never really is a bad day to authentically promote the disability community.

Posted on 1 Comment

Ryan: Why My Shaq-Sized Wish Changed

A young Ryan is pictured with Shaquille O'Neal

I grew up in the middle of central Illinois.

It seemed I was the only disabled kid in the entire county, although that is not statistically accurate.

I was a huge Shaquille O’Neal fan.

He was my guy, my hero.

Super big, relatable and kind of funny.

I watched every NBA game with Shaq, and I dreamt of playing alongside Shaq, winning NBA titles like never before.

But, as I watched his games, I saw something that dimmed my Shaq-sized dreams.

It was the commercials of kids who looked like me, and even had my disability.

They were always shown in hospitals, wrapped in bandages like a mummy, plugged into a number of devices, and surrounded by friends and family as if the end was near.

Honestly, I know what it’s like to be that kid in the hospital

I did not need or want to see reminders of my days in the hospital.

Rather, what I needed as a kid was to see kids who looked like me living the dream I had.

Playing basketball.

And winning.

After developing personal relationships with many Paralympic athletes in the U.S. and around the world, I realized disabled people can play basketball, and we can win a lot.

A woman is shown pushing her black wheelchair racing chair.
When I spent time with Paralympic athletes, like Amanda McGrory (shown), my perspective on my own dreams changed

That’s why I created Team Trust: to show — and prove — that disabled people, sure, endure some challenges, but we also have very, very awesome lives.

To learn why and how to easily integrate disability into your marketing, check out our free disability marketing guide.

Consumers want brands to show diversity in their ads.

Diversity includes disability.

Posted on Leave a comment

This Video Means A lot To Me. I hope it does to you, too.

By Ryan Wilson, Director

Feb. 26, 2022

Every video we produce is special. The stories we hear and tell are magical.

I feel grateful to be in a position of listening to people, and validating their experiences.

We recently had the honor of telling a rather personal story to me. It is the story of the Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation. The OIF helps support ground-breaking and even life-changing research for persons living with Osteogenesis Imperfecta like myself.

OI, as it’s commonly called, is a condition that causes one to have brittle bones. In other words, we — well, I — break a lot of bones.

I have broken 50 to 60 bones, in fact.

In our video for the OIF, we highlighted the organization’s long-standing commitment to support ground-breaking research for persons with OI.

The OIF often also brings together the community of us OI-ers for a number of events.

This connecting and learning from others is particularly important for anyone in the disability community.

Even with the tremendous amounts of information we can access online, persons with disabilities may not find that one resource that or person who will change their lives.

But … the OIF makes it so much easier.

If you would like a similar story told about your organization, please reach out.

We are here for you.

Posted on 1 Comment

Introducing Our Partnership with Catalyst Sports

Team Trust Productions is proud to unveil a partnership with Catalyst Sports. Catalyst Sports is a non-profit organization that changes the lives of persons with disabilities through adapted adventures.

Catalyst Sports is traveling to nine cities across the southeast to introduce individuals with disabilities to adaptive mountain biking. Team Trust is filming this tour, and is producing a short film at each stop.

Here is Team Trust’s first video, filmed in Chattanooga, Ga.

To learn more about Catalyst Sports, go to https://www.catalystsports.org.