Your Name: Cameron Young

Age: 28

Location: Grand Rapids, MI

Occupation: I get paid by Steelcase, the global office furniture manufacturer, for my contributions to their brand communications department, but I’m involved with a few other organizations, namely Disability Advocates of Kent County and Indian Trails Camp, for which I make unpaid, but (hopefully) equally valuable contributions.

Where did you come from? I was born and raised in suburban Grand Rapids, but I think where you come from is more than the physical location of your childhood; it’s the people and community that raised and instilled values in you. In that case, I came from a very loving, supportive, encouraging place.

A Fear: My fear isn’t necessarily that I won’t walk again, but rather that I’ll be unable to live a happy life in a wheelchair.

A Goal: In that same vein, my overarching goal is to get back on my feet. At this point, I’ll need some assistance from science, but if I can surf the Internet in a flying metal cylinder 30,000 feet above an expanse of never-ending ocean, anything is possible…right?

A Memory: I remember in the moments after I broke my neck, lying face down in the ocean, it was peaceful, just quiet. A gentle rolling of the waves. Then someone grabbed me and flipped me over, and I glimpsed a look of abject horror on my friend’s face. And reality set in.

A Mistake: There have been too many instances in my life where caution and my tendency toward risk-aversion have won out over my better judgment. Mostly involving girls.

A Hero: My heroes growing up were the athletes I watched excelling on the television. Now that I’m the same age or older than many elite, world-famous athletes, it’s too weird. I’d say my heroes now are my grandfathers; both rose to the top of their fields through hard work, tenacity, and determination. Both also never forgot about causes larger than themselves, and were able to keep wicked senses of humor while doing it.

A Fault: I think I too often look for the validation and approval of others, when I should have the self-confidence to do what I know is right all along.

A Talent: I used to be good at sports, but that was mostly in elementary school. Now I thrive in matters of arcane pop culture and sports trivia.

A Prized Possession: I have a Dwight Schrute bobblehead that keeps a close and creepy eye on me at my desk.

A Need: Smarter doctors. Study, kids!

I want More: Laughter in my life.

I want Less: Potholes in the road.

What would you change about the world? I want the world to become a more accessible place. Not accessible as in more ramps and automatic doors (although those are cool too) but accessible in terms of entrée to information, each other, and the truth.

What do you love about yourself? I love that I can stay optimistic even in the worst of times.