Jonathan Sigworth, a C7 quadriplegic, is the co-founder, CO-CEO, and President of More Than Walking. More Than Walking’s mission is to “promote independent living after spinal cord injury worldwide by sharing the experiences of active peer-mentors and expert rehabilitation professionals.”
Jonathan is a C7 peer-mentor, filmmaker, and public speaker. He is hosting a meetup for Thrive Worldwide 2019. Read more about Jonathan and his event below.
Tell me a little about yourself and your background:
I grew up in Connecticut, and 2006 was 19 when a bicycle accident in India left me a quadriplegic, paralyzed below my arms and in my hands. While completing my English degree at Wesleyan and then at Dartmouth College, I returned to start India’s first wheelchair rugby team and direct a short documentary “More Than Walking” (2009) – having witnessed the lack of opportunities that new spinal cord injury patients had to learn about pursuing independence again. In 2013, I moved to Delhi to co-found ESCIP Trust India and start a transitional living and peer mentor program for quadriplegics.
My wife Jessica Bello Capote grew up in Cali, Colombia. Valedictorian of her class at Universidad del Valle, she worked in Cali from 2013 to 2015, practicing neurological, aquatic, and musculoskeletal physical therapy in private rehabilitation centers and Clínica Fundación Valle del Lili, a large teaching hospital. In an effort to help a quadriplegic patient learn bed mobility, Jessica searched on YouTube and found my documentary, bed mobility demonstration videos, and disability advocacy work. We married in 2016 and co-founded More Than Walking Incorporated on August 28, 2017, to improve global access to the knowledge and community that makes life with paralysis possible. Jessica currently works with Yale Health at Bridgeport Hospital and I work part-time as an English tutor; both of us are Co-CEOs of More Than Walking.
How did you find out about Ablethrive.com and #ThriveWorldwide?
I had met AbleThrive founder Brittany Dejean while attending an Echoing Green Fellowship conference in Mumbai in 2014 and have been following AbleThive's progress ever since.
Why did you decide to be a #ThriveWorldWide host?
More Than Walking's mission strongly aligns with AbleThrive's and we are using story-telling as a way to bring communities together to empower people with disabilities. We record interviews with peer mentors living with spinal cord injuries and other disabilities from around the world and publish their stories and demonstrations of independent living skills on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Morethanwalking.com, and Spinalpedia.com. Hosting a #ThriveWorldWide event is a natural way for us to learn from and advocate together with other like-minded organizations.
Which partner organization are you representing? (If applicable)
More Than Walking
What does it mean to live life to the fullest?
Own your story and how it's told. You may be broken, limited, and lost - welcome to being human - but if you choose to allow the mistakes you've made and the nightmares you've faced to help someone else out of the darkness, you will have lived to the fullest.
Thrive Worldwide Meetup Details
What do you plan for your #ThriveWorldwide meetup? What do you hope will happen at the meetup?
More Than Walking and sponsors B:Hive Coworking, Artist & Craftsman Supply, and Leisha's Bakeria are hosting a FREE Paint & Coffee Hour from 4 - 6 pm at 7 Lafayette Cir, Bridgeport, CT. Participants can enjoy baked goods and hot drinks while collaborating on pieces of a watercolor mural that will illustrate the path people with disabilities take to pursue independence. Copies of the mural will be scanned, printed, and mailed to participants.
Who would you like to see at your #ThriveWorldwide meetup and why?
We hope to see our local SCI peer mentor volunteers, their friends and family, co-workers, and community members who are excited about using art to share the challenges and beauty of pursuing independent living with a disability.
#ThriveWorldwide is a global campaign on December 3rd, the International Day of People with Disabilities. We host meet-ups around the world to bring people together to celebrate living life to the fullest. Join us by posting a photo of you with the hashtag #ThriveWorldwide or contact us if you'd like to host a meet-up of your own!