Marine Kirstie Ennis grew up with military parents and always knew she would join the Marine Corps and it was no surprise when she did at 17. She became a Helicopter Door Gunner, "...the most bad to the bone job in the Marine Corps you can possibly have."
While she was serving in Afghanistan, a mission to transport fellow Marines and supplies became a life-changer. Kirstie's copter crashed and she suffered multiple injuries, including the loss of her leg.
During her recuperation, she turned to sports for motivation and found a way to help others. She took on the challenge of climbing the 7 Summits (the highest peak on seven continents), extremely challenging for anyone, much less an amputee, and raised money for the non-profit, The Waterboys, who bring clean drinking water to communities in need. When she successfully reached the summit of Denali, the highest peak in North America, she also raised funds and awareness for the Building Homes for Heroes program.
But Kirstie isn't close to being done. Most recently, she participated in the "Pin-Ups for Vets" calendar, where she faced her loss of self-esteem due to her injuries. "Its taboo to sexy, taboo to be attractive if you're in a wheelchair, or you're in a prosthetic, or you're disabled. I was fearful. I want to be the one where people can own their differences."
Follow her journey of recovery and learn how she has regained her confidence while being a role model for others who also face these difficult circumstances.
Born and raised in Long Island, New York, Aydian Dowling always felt out of place. He grew up attending Catholic school and eventually asked his parents to transfer him to public school where he could dress and act more naturally. He came out as a lesbian soon after. "I felt in line with being a lesbian. It was A + B = C." he remembers "I was a girl who liked other girls and that made me a lesbian."
When he was 20, Aydian still felt different and disconnected, even with other lesbians. Soon afterward he realized that he identified as a Trans man after a girl he was dating asked him if he'd ever wanted to be a boy. He searched for answers using Google and found a clip from the Maury daytime talk show where a man held up a photo of himself as a little girl and talked about how he transitioned. "That little three-minute clip was life-changing," Dowling says."My issue my whole life was not about my sexuality, it was about my gender."
With his course set, Aydian faced a pragmatic hurdle, how to pay for the expensive surgery, which was not covered by insurance. Ever resourceful, Aydian invested the $250 he had in the creation of his clothing company, Point5cc, to fund the operation. "I'm not a magician" he says "but I was able to raise the $5,900 in about 6 months."
Aydian documented his own transition on YouTube as a way to voice his thoughts, fears, and successes; as well as offer a support mechanism for others looking to transition. His YouTube channel, A Lions Fears, quickly became popular and to date, has nearly 200 videos, reaches over 71k followers, and close to 7 million views. In 2011, Aydian was chosen as one of three LGBT persons to have their stories showcased on the Emmy Nominated It Gets Better Project on MTV. Aydian was also nominated to be on the cover of Men's Health magazine and had around 40,000 votes to win the mag's annual Ultimate Guy Search, 30,000 more than that of his closest rival, according to the contest leader board. He has also appeared twice on the Ellen show to share his ongoing story.
Aydian continues his mission to help others by answering hundreds of emails a month and documenting his ongoing transition. He also travels with his wife, Jenilee Dowling, discussing "The Transitioning Relationship" which goes over tips and techniques on how to keep relationships of all kinds blossoming during the hard times of transition. Now living in Oregon, their ongoing story will be chronicled in an original OnlyGood TV series, The Creation of Us.
Do you have something in your life you are so passionate about that you would be willing to dedicate time, money and room(s) in your living space to?
If your answer is a resounding Yes!, meet Laurence Sheinman, whose passion for Looney Tunes cartoons, and particularly Bugs Bunny, is so over the top it will have you asking, "What's up Doc?".
That rascally rabbit has always had a special pull on Laurence. "Bugs Bunny has the cool of Humphrey Bogart and a dash of Jerry Lewis vaudeville." It's that connection to a character that is at the heart of this premiere episode of the new OnlyGood TV Series, "Passions", which is all about people and their unique hobbies, skills, and obsessions.
Laurence doesn't consider himself a collector – that would put him in the company of those who poo-poo anything not in "mint-condition" – but just a guy who likes the adventure of the hunt and finding the fun things that remind him of those carefree Saturday mornings as a kid when watching the cartoon lineup was the best way to kick-off the weekend.
What started out as fun outings with his wife Jessica and infant son Adam years ago, has blossomed into a collection of over 1,000(?) items, big and small, ornamental and functional, valuable and just … unique. Jessica has adopted the curator role, and a life partner's perspective of the special things that draw and keep two people together. "Its harmless fun, and as long as he's not collecting wives, I don't really care."
Laurence dreams of one day writing a book about his special hobby if he could somehow avoid one inevitable life obstacle….downsizing.
After being on the verge of death and surviving, terror attack survivor and Children's Book Author and Illustrator, Linda Ragsdale now dedicates her life to helping children and adults find peace through art and expression. On this episode of Beyond Courage, Karen Shayne travels to one of Linda Ragsdale's Peace Dragon talks at a local Nashville school to help spread Linda's message of peace and hope in this unsettled world. Watch the full story now on http://www.onlygood.tv/.
New from OnlyGood.tv! Joshua Varozza is a bail bondsman by day and a male model by night, but he's not your typical male model. Joshua is a dudeoir (dude + boudoir) model; he mimics sexy poses in his underwear in order to promote inner beauty and masculine femininity, support awareness for wounded military members, and inspire others with his confidence! In this episode, Josh gets married to his "hot little blonde" photographer who shot his viral dudeoir photos! Watch Josh and Tami get hitched in this unforgettable country wedding and hear heartfelt accounts from each member of their new blended family. Watch the full video now on OnlyGood.tv!
New from OnlyGood.tv! Sprouts Cooking Club is an organization that empowers youth of all socioeconomic backgrounds to eat and live sustainably by teaching them how to cook healthy meals. Sprouts' Chef-In-Training Program (CIT) is FREE and offers young adults from underserved communities the opportunity to participate in an apprenticeship under an executive chef from a local restaurant. Hear from the founder of Sprouts and two Chef-In-Training alumni and learn how the program has impacted their career and lives. Watch the full video now on OnlyGood.tv!
New from OnlyGood.tv! When Sherif Farag was once asked what his dream job was, he said it was to own a bakery. It's a long journey from Management Consultant in Boston to Baker in Paris but in this story you will follow the unusual path Sherif and his wife Nadine have followed to make this dream come true. Watch the full video now on OnlyGood.tv!