Garrison Redd is a native of Brooklyn, New York. He is a TEDx Speaker, Team USA Paralympic powerlifter, model, and most of all an advocate for disabled rights. As the co-founder of the Garrison Redd Project (GRP), he aims to improve access to resources for individuals with disabilities.
Garrison started GRP in 2017 after facing a number of barriers due to his own T12 incomplete spinal cord injury. “When I had the initial onset of my injury, back when I was 17 years old, I felt that there weren’t a lot of resources out there and I had to go searching for a lot of things on my own. I wanted to make that easier for others.” We hope you’ll enjoy his journey here on the CURE NATION!
THE GARRISON REDD PROJECT takes flight
The Garrison Redd Project (GRP) is meant to be a central organization where anyone can reach out to inquire about life with a disability. Through GRP, Garrison encourages others to pursue dreams they felt their disability prevented them from doing and provides peer support to those who need it most. He helps others in the community to “find themselves” and gives individuals with disabilities a chance to learn from one another.
Garrison feels that “if individuals with disabilities had a platform to showcase some of their abilities, then the world would become more insightful and more understanding that individuals with disabilities are capable of doing anything that an able-bodied individual can do.” It’s a sentiment that he embodies in his own life.
Garrison was always good at math and wanted to put those skills to use as a day trader so he completed a Bachelor’s degree in Finance at York College. In hindsight, Garrison admits that if he knew then what he knows now, he probably would have taken a different direction and pursued something more like public administration or social work (though his background in Finance does help him successfully run the Garrison Redd project). He is planning to go back to school to further his work in non-for-profit management.
“When you start school, you’re 18 and still figuring things out,” he explains. “Now that I’m 30 and my life has changed drastically, I’m more interested in helping others.”
GARRISON EXPERIENCED EMPLOYMENT WOES AFTER HIS INJURY
Graduating from his university really opened Garrison’s eyes to the realities of being a person with a disability. He was turned down for over 60 jobs in a three-year time span.
“I had a really hard time finding employment, and these were positions that any individual sitting down would be able to do. That was really discouraging.” Garrison realized he was not alone after looking at the unemployment statistics of people with disabilities and these disappointing statistics are what drove him to start GRP.
“I feel that the disability community is a large community that, if we all stick together, we can showcase the things we CAN do and create more opportunities for us.”
Garrison gets involved in whatever way he can within his community. He began modelling and acting after a friend encouraged him to audition for an Apple commercial showcasing the inclusive features of the Apple Watch.
He’s involved with the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, and he dances with Heidi Latsky Dance company. The Heidi Latsky Dance company is welcoming to everyone and Garrison appreciates the opportunity to move, stretch, and just kickback and relax while he works out with the dance group.
A Willingness to Try Something New led Garrison TO ADAPTED SPORTS
After being approached about playing adapted football at his local gym, Garrison was introduced to parasports and his athletic career really took off. Initially not a fan of football, he tried it anyways and met John Hamre of the Wheelchair Sports Federation. John told Garrison that he had the potential to be a Paralympian and connected the burgeoning sports star to the track and field team. Being a part of the track and field team introduced Garrison to shotput, javelin, and discuss throwing.
Though Garrison enjoyed track as a competitive sport, transportation to and from practice became too much of a commitment (the New York Subway system isn’t always the easiest to navigate from an accessibility standpoint). He also felt that the coaches weren’t as dedicated to his practice as he was.
He moved on to trying wheelchair racing with the New Jersey Navigators – but again, interstate transportation was a bit of a mess to overcome so he could participate. That’s when Garrison discovered his athletic passion for power lifting.
garrison transforms into a POWER-LIFTING SUPERSTAR
Just over two years ago that, Garrison entered his first power lifting competition. At the time, he didn’t know anything about powerlifting and hadn’t been training but managed to lift a staggering 250 lbs even though he only weighs in at 120 lbs himself! Officials at the meet were astounded with his performance and just two days later, Garrison got an email asking him to try out for Team USA ParaPowerlifting.
Or, as he tells it, “Saturday, I knew nothing about it and on Monday they’re telling me I’m the cream of the crop and one of the strongest adapted powerlifters in the Nation.”
What a frenzied introduction to the sport!
VIDEO: Watch GARRISON QUALIFY FOR THE PARALYMPICS
Garrison has been training for competitive power-lifting ever since that first frenzied week, learning everything about safety and the most effective training methods. This past February, he attended his first Para-Powerlifting National meet and lifted a whopping 275 lbs, qualifying him to go to Kazakhstan and possibly on from there to the Para Pan-American Games in Peru.
His current level of achievement is absolutely astounding given that Garrison hasn’t even been officially power-lifting for a year! July will mark one year since he started competing.
Even though he is physically ready to compete (and win), as well as being on track to make the Paralympic team, Garrison is struggling to find funding as an emerging athlete and is always looking for new sponsors.
garrison’s advice for new atheletes: PASSING IT ON
When asked for advice he would give new or aspiring athletes, Garrison encourages them to “think outside the box. Don’t just go for sports you are 100% interested in. Sometimes, a good sport for you is something you have no knowledge about. You just have to go for it, there are so many sports out there! Try everything!”
GARRISON SHARES HIS TWO CENTS ON CURE MEDICAL
We were thrilled to meet Garrison Redd in person as we welcomed him to the CURE NATION earlier this year during the New York Metro Abilities Expo. We had a wonderful time sharing stories with him and other community leaders like Andrea Dalzell, Chris Collin and Christine Selinger who are also part of the CURE NATION online.
As an avid supporter of the disability community, Garrison was positively encouraged when he learned about all of the ways that Cure Medical helps people who self-cath.
“I love that the Cure Medical website is a centralized spot for everything you need to know about quality catheters, as well as the hub for the CURE NATION blog stories,” Garrison explains.
“Thanks to Cure Medical for creating another place, right here, where we can all learn from each other!” he adds.
To request free samples of the Cure Catheter® or any Cure Medical catheter, contact your local distributor of quality healthcare products, or click here.
Thank You, Too, Garrison for Choosing a Cure!
Founded by a quadriplegic, Cure Medical is the only catheter manufacturer in the world that donates the first 10% of its net income to support research programs in pursuit of a cure for urinary retention, paralysis, spinal cord injury and central nervous system disorders.
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