Spencer West sits himself on a chair four feet off the ground in preparation for a press conference. This ordinary task is made remarkable by the fact that Spencer West has no legs. West swings himself onto chairs, and moves around using his only arms.
West is a Me to We inspirational speaker, and a Free the Children Ambassador who spoke at We Day in Vancouver on October 18. A press release explains that We Day is an initiative of Free the Children, which inspires a generation to act, both locally and globally. We Day was held at Rogers Arena this year, and around 18 000 student took part in the event.
While speaking at We Day, West explained that at the age of five, he had both legs amputated from the pelvis down, and that this genetic disorder has not hampered him from living life to the fullest.
West credits a volunteer trip for helping him realize his calling to motivate and inspire people around the world. In 2008, he visited Kenya’s Maasai Mara, and helped build a school in a local community, explains a press release.
West also acknowledges his parents for introducing him to volunteerism at an early age.
“It was just something that was engrained into us from the time that we were born,” he said. “Leading by example and having that freedom to choose what we are passionate about, was the key for me.”
Since then, West has been raising awareness for issues of global poverty and destruction through Free the Children. In 2011, during Kenya’s worst drought in 60 years, West attracted worldwide attention by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. He raised over $500 000 for clean water projects in communities affected by the drought that year.
Craig Kielburger is the co-founder of Free the Children, and ended We Day with this description of West:
“Spencer West has taught us to re-define possible.”
During his We Day speech, West explained his newest project and how he plans to once again re-define possible.
“We are going to go on a road trip across Canada in the name of the 57 million people who are still denied passage to school and education, and in solidarity with the 200 schools in developing communities around the world.”
A press release further expands on West’s project, called the We Create Change Tour. West will visit students who pledge to raise $10 000 to build a school. The tour supports Free the Children’s Year of Education, which is a year-long initiative to build 200 schools in countries of need.
It was evident in West’s We Day speech that he has no plans of stopping any time soon:
“There are still communities that need our help. They need you, I need you, and the world needs you…Let’s make this the year that we change the world.”