Being a light and leader in the disability community has led to this doctor receiving his flowers in a big way.
Tragedy To Triumph: Dr. Feranmi Okanlami is known on the University of Michigan’s campus as the director of Disability Services and Adaptive Sports. Prior to being a physician, Okanlami was an All-American track star who suffered from a spinal cord injury. The disability which came after put into question what would be next for his path. However, he chose perseverance.
Dr. Okanlami works to instill attributes of his own character into students in the adaptive sports and fitness program. The core mission is to spark joy and show them what they’re capable of.
The inspiring doctor’s efforts for his community were brought to the attention of “Good Morning America.” The TV show surprised Dr. Okanlami with $1 million from the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, ABC News reports.
Watch the full video below:
“Disability is not inability."
"Dr. O" has made it his mission to build the adaptive sports and fitness program at the University of Michigan.
Watch @robinroberts surprise him with 1 MILLION DOLLARS! https://t.co/GcQdf2xqXO pic.twitter.com/gPfV9iWoCs
— Good Morning America (@GMA) October 20, 2022
His response: The sports director was speechless but took the moment to share what the contribution meant to not only him but all who share his commitment to those living with spinal cord injuries.
“This is not a me thing, this is an us thing,” Okanlami said, according to the outlet. “The fact that they were able to orchestrate this somehow amidst all of the other things they’ve been doing — through COVID, through family deaths, through injury, through sickness — so the emotion is about every single person here and those that aren’t here, those at Michigan, those at other institutions and in other country, those on other continents with and without disabilities that have supported us to get to where we are.”
“It is beyond words,” he added.
Okanlami is just only getting started on helping more disabled people have access to more opportunities.
“‘Disabusing disability’ was a trademark that I coined a couple years ago to try to demonstrate that disability doesn’t mean inability,” he said. “Until I started to move life on the other side of the stethoscope with my spinal cord injury I did not realize how ableist our world was, how inaccessible the world was and how I was unintentionally complicit to this world and met all these people with disabilities that have been doing amazing things.”