Shannon Minnick closes every email with some lofty yet practical advice from the late Olympic great Jesse Owens: “We all have dreams, but in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.” Those words have also proven pretty prophetic in Shannon’s own life.
Now, some 25 years after the car accident that dramatically changed her future, Shannon has turned medical advice about all the things she would never be able to do on its head. “My dreams in life did not come true without the grace of God, and a supportive network of family and friends,” Shannon is quick to say.
Shannon embraced a simple formula for success: dreaming and then doing what needs to be done. Early on, Shannon dreamed of being a role model, not only for her two daughters, Akia and Erika, but for others living with a disability.
Whether serving as a board member of United Spinal’s D.C. Metro Chapter, campaigning for adaptive fitness for those with disabilities, starring in how-to videos on YouTube, being crowned Ms. Wheelchair MD 2010 or helping coordinate the Ms. Wheelchair MD organization, Shannon has planted and nurtured the dreams of so many in the disability community. She also founded and organized the Disabilities Awareness Experience to better connect and coordinate efforts and education between individuals with those without disabilities.
Shannon prides herself on actively reaching out to the disability community. A perfect example of this approach was her participation in the “Feel The Power March, Get Out The Disability Vote” this September. The event, a five day, 38-mile roll from Baltimore to Washington, D.C., was the country’s first disability voter march. Two dozen plus “marchers” stayed in tent cities along the way. Dismissing the rigors of the road and fighting off the exhausting pace, Shannon urged others to get out and vote in a Facebook video, declaring, “I am doing what needs to be done.”
Currently, Shannon is employed by a Maryland center for independent living, Independence Now. She serves on the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute Committee, Spinal Cord Injury Consortium Board, The MontCo Accessible Cabs, Save the Seat Committee and Getting Around the County Board. On top of all her work and volunteering, Shannon enjoys snow skiing, water skiing, dancing, movies, planning events, helping others and “most of all, Saturday mornings family time.”
Shannon welcomes sharing dreams and rolling with them until they are reality. Please feel free to connect with her on Facebook.