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You Might Think I Need Help, but I Don’t

Ryan is shown in a hospital room wearing a white cap.

By Ryan Wilson

Team Trust, CEO

Because I have a disability, I think people assume I need help with everything.

They may think I need help with everyday tasks, and require a whole staff of personal assistants (PAs) to fill my needs.

This was the case for about 24 years of my life, but not any more.

I used to have a staff of about eight PAs in college, and I had an aid in elementary, junior and high schools to help me navigate crowded hallways and carry books.

I even had PAs up until the pandemic hit, and then the world shut down.

My PAs were all college students, and they were gone indefinitely. 

I had three options:

Stay with my parents for the duration of the pandemic;

Scramble to find any human being who would help me;

Forge ahead independently without any PAs.

I chose option 3, perhaps the riskiest of the three options.

While I had no help, I did have athlete friends with disabilities who led independent lives. 

They didn’t have PAs, and it seemed, with my increasing strength, I didn’t need PAs, either.

When I did have PAs, I carefully tested my strength and independence.

Could I cook without burning my home down? Yes.

Could I do laundry independently? Yes.

Could I transfer into the shower independently? Yes.

Turns out, I didn’t need PAs at all.

While this Is not universal for all persons with disabilities, it is one dose of a small, yet large achievement anybody with a disability has.

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A Message on Ryan’s Gratitude for Life

An open space with tables and chairs.

By Ryan Wilson

Team Trust

Recently, I came across this picture.

I haven’t seen it since I was in the hospital last year.

I believe my mom took this photo to show me what the cafeteria area of the St. Louis Children’s Hospital looked like.

I had been in the ICU there for a few days.

I had fallen out of my wheelchair, and needed surgery.

The surgery took a turn for the worse, and I was unconscious for three days.

Once I came to, I was looking for the outside world.

When I first ventured to this cafeteria (in the picture), I vividly remember two things: watching a man helping a little girl (presumably his daughter) and a fish tank.

The little girl was in a hot pink manual wheelchair. Her chair was shaped similar to one of my manual chairs, and it, just like hers, gives off the hospital-wheelchair vibe.

I remember seeing this girl, thinking of all the athlete-friends I have in wheelchairs, and, of course, feeling deeply grateful for all those who have helped me.

As my parents grabbed my food, I sat alone at the table, under a cluster of drugs, and with no functioning limb.

I thought to myself:

“What am I doing? So many disabled people have helped me. I need to make sure I help many disabled kids just like her.”

A few minutes earlier, the fish tank took my breath away.

It was remarkably colorful, and the fish, shimmying up, down and around a bright blue tank, looked so alive.

That, I admit, almost made me tear up.

I was — and still am — so grateful to be alive.

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How Trust Is Life or Death For Persons with Disabilities

Ryan Wilson poses with two occupational therapists in a hospital room.

By Ryan Wilson,

Team Trust, CEO

I am led to believe some persons with disabilities might have a more critical take on trust.

There are times when we have to rely on people, even strangers, to help us with very personal tasks, and I think we are all probably well aware of the inherent risks of such a level of trust.

When I transitioned to college, I, truthfully, had not spent much time away from my parents.

My mom and dad were always by my side, making sure I was safe and secure.

That was not the case when I lived in a dorm.

Mom and dad were an hour and a half away, and I had to immediately learn how to tell complete strangers how to lift me out of my wheelchair.

If they dropped me, I could break many, many bones.

So it was kind of a life-or-death situation.

This is not a rare scenario for a portion of persons with disabilities, especially if you have fragile bones like I do, but it does open our eyes to what really matters:

Trust. Security. Safety.

If I don’t trust you, you aren’t lifting me.

And if you don’t trust you, you aren’t lifting me.

Regardless of how physically strong you are.

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Happy Thanksgiving From Team Trust

A black and white photo of two individuals in winter jackets strapped GoPro cameras on two skiers at the Winter Park Resort in Winter Park, Co.

Hello everyone.

I hope you all are well. This is Ryan Wilson, director of Team Trust.

I wanted to personally thank each of you for helping Team Trust reach our current heights. Whether you helped us with a shoot or we helped you tell your story, we are very grateful … for each of you. I personally hope we made a difference in your lives in some way, shape or form this year. Each of you have done the same for me and our Team.

Interestingly, Team Trust started to take off after I regained consciousness earlier this year ( That, I must admit, was unexpected, but it gave me many reasons to unplug — ahem, escape — from all those IVs as quickly and, sure, safely as possible.

Enjoy your day and family.

Reach out if we can ever be of any assistance, even if that’s buying you pizza. (We’ve got tasty connections!)R