Despite growing up around drugs and violence and losing his ability to walk in the prime of his life, Comedian and Author Damon Rozier, who will be participating in United Spinal Association’s upcoming Independence Expo in Orlando, Florida, refused to give up on his dreams.
“After I was spinal cord injured in a motorcycle accident in 1997 I quickly realized that society treated people with disabilities much differently. My biggest challenge was challenging myself. I knew that I would have to conquer many obstacles to regain my independence and that I ultimately had the power to either make my situation better or worse,” Damon says.
Damon, a member of United Spinal and single father of two boys––Dashawn, 14, and Damon Jr., 15––decided that life was too short to let his disability or any other hardship he endured determine what he could and couldn’t do.
He soon discovered that comedy was a great outlet to let out some of the physical, psychological, and social frustrations of living with a disability and change the negative public perception of wheelchair users. Comedy was therapeutic, and Damon, whose smile can light up a room, had a natural talent for it.
The Brownsville, Brooklyn native started doing comedy in 2003. He’s performed at comedy clubs nationwide and has landed major gigs in New York City including the Improv, the Laugh Factory, Caroline’s, and Stand-Up New York.
Most nights, Damon has to be lifted on stage because there isn’t any accessibility at the clubs. But he’s quick to crack a joke about it.
“I may look a little afraid tonight, it’s because I am. I know if a fire breaks out none of you are gonna help me off this stage,” Damon jokes during one of his sets.
His comedy routine is diverse, unfiltered, and extremely honest. “At first people are somewhat shocked by seeing a comic in a wheelchair. But as I perform they start to just see me for who I am and not the chair,” he says.
Damon’s biggest achievement is raising his two sons, who inspire him to work hard, stay healthy and set a good example in all that he does.
“For them, growing up in a ‘disabled world’ opened their eyes to the trials and tribulations many people with disabilities go through. And in my opinion they definitely have an edge on society,” he adds.
Along with comedy and taking on the full-time responsibilities of parenting, Damon still finds time to play wheelchair sports and get involved in his community. But he admits, he had to overcome a great deal of adversity to get to where he is today.
Damon recently published a book titled, Surviving the Game of Life where readers get a personal look at his battle overcoming street life and drugs, incarceration, and his tragic accident to becoming a successful comic, wheelchair athlete, and father.
Damon will be sharing his experiences with attendees at United Spinal Association’s Independence Expo at the Buena Vista Palace Hotel and Convention Center in Orlando, Florida on October 1st and 2nd
“I’m looking forward to offering my support to attendees who are confronting the challenges of living with a disability. The Expo such a great event because it provides people with a wide-range of tools to become more independent and reach their goals. I’m glad to be a part of it.”
Damon is presently working on a second book and was recently asked to give a motivational speech to inmates with disabilities at Rikers Island.
For more information on meeting Damon in person at United Spinal’s Independence Expo, please visit www.independenceexpo.org.