[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/14/art.aaron.jpg
caption=”Aaron Fotheringham, 17, competes in extreme sports with a wheelchair.”]
Aaron Fotheringham has earned his “whining rights,” but he’s never touched them. He was born with spina bifida, unable to use his legs and adopted into a home with 5 other kids. None of that has ever kept him or his need for speed down.
Since he was a baby, he was right on track with the rest of the kids. There was nothing he couldn’t do. He just did it in his own way — crawling on his tummy and pretending to fly like superman down the hallway on crutches. When he was eight years old, he went to a skate park in his wheelchair and saw the tricks the guys there were doing and said, “Hey, I can do that!”
At first, he fell off a drop in a quarter pipe. But, he tried again until he started doing difficult tricks and entering free style competitions. “Wheelz,” as his friends call him, won the 2005 Vegas AmJam BMX finals, and soon after landed the first wheelchair back flip. He is the only known competitive “hard core sitter,” as he likes to say, so he competes against extreme bikers and skaters. His advice to anyone thinking about cashing in their “whining rights” — “Don’t limit yourself. Just go out there – just live your life. Do something gnarly.”
Update: Watch the CNN.com Live interview