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Author: Mike Brown

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Welcome to Adaptdefy. Here you'll meet people who have learnt to adapt to intense physical and psychological challenges, and defy what they, and those around them, thought was possible.

We'll dive into the tools and equipment they use, and the mindset that allows them to succeed and find freedom. This is a podcast to strengthen the adaptive community and increase freedom for everyone. It's a podcast for Adaptdefiers, and those who want to become one.

Hosted by paraplegic Mike Brown all the way from New Zealand.
54 Episodes
Andrew Slorance is the CEO and founder of Phoenix Instinct. In 2020 they won a million dollars in the Toyota Mobility Foundation Mobility Unlimited Challenge to revolutionize the manual wheelchair.  Andrew grew up in the North East of Scotland and became a T4/5 paraplegic wheelchair user as a 14 year old after falling from a tree.  Over the last 30 years he has learnt a thing or two about navigating life and has taken it upon himself to solve some of the frustrations that he's encountered along the way.  A successful photographer, designer and entrepreneur, we discuss the ups and downs and how he has ultimately risen like the Phoenix! 
I first met Alex while he was flying a plane around New Zealand. The more I got chatting the more I was in awe of the balance he has in his life. A paraplegic of over 20 years, Alex is an accomplished wheelchair tennis player, sit skier, peer mentor and family man. In this episode we discuss his philosophy on life and gain an insight into how he has managed to create such a well rounded life. 
Born with a rare disorder that affects her mobility, Jackie Silver rocks a wheelchair and is on a mission to empower people with disabilities and/or chronic diseases to live healthier lifestyles.  Jackie is a registered dietitian with a Masters of Health Science (MHSc) who takes a weight-inclusive approach to nutrition and focuses on health behaviour change rather than weight. She also takes a mindful eating approach believing it to be one of the most effective ways of sustaining long-term health behaviour change. 
Maria Rabaino is a founding member of the phenomenally successful Rollettes Wheelchair Dance Team, and a certified personal trainer who creates workout videos for wheelchair users to increase their mental and physical wellbeing.  In this episode we talk about: The accident that left Maria with an L1 incomplete spinal cord injury What helped her during her recovery The journey to success with the Rollettes Finding love Fitness and mental health
Hannah Gavios was backpacking in Asia solo when an attempted sexual assault forced her to run for her life. Things went from bad to worse when she fell down a cliff and was paralyzed, only to be confronted by her attacker as she lay there in the dark unable to move. Her physical and mental recovery and strength is phenomenal.  Hannah now runs marathons and teaches Yoga even though she suffers the lasting effects of a spinal cord injury. There is much wisdom to soak up in this interview. Hang on for a wild ride.
Andrea Dalzell was diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis at the age of 5, but growing up using a wheelchair didn’t stop her from pursuing a career in healthcare! Today, she is the first registered nurse who uses a wheelchair in NYC.
Ivan Pizzaro was shot by a gunman when he was 19 while attending a Halloween party. A fit an active sportsman he was left paralyzed from the waist down. In this episode we talk about his recovery and how he manages to stay fit and healthy in both mind and body.  If you're a wheelchair user or you know someone who is, checkout the LapStacker to increase freedom and remove frustration from your life.
In this episode, Cambry Nelson, a champion equestrian vaulter, describes what happened the day she broke her back.  “I decided to do my aerial dismount off the horse, but didn’t communicate it to my teammate still on the horse. I flipped, hit him with my leg, changed my rotation in the air and landed on my back. I severed my spinal cord and became permanently paralyzed from the waist down.”  In this podcast we talk about her recovery, (which she describes as ongoing), why it took her so long to feel comfortable on a horse again, dating and marriage as a paraplegic, identity and self worth, occupational therapy, and developing a new product to increase freedom for wheelchair users.  This is a goodie! Check it out.
Gem Hubbard is arguably one of the top Disability Lifestyle Creators in the UK with an international following for her “Wheels No Heels” channels. A medical mishap while a young girl left Gem fighting for her life in ICU. Waking from the induced coma, she was told that she was now paralyzed from the waist down.  The transition to being a wheelchair user was rough physically and mentally and at one point Gem wanted to end it all. Lucky she didn't because her Youtube videos educate and entertain millions on how to life a fulfilling life as a wheelchair user. More importantly perhaps, her content highlights important changes needed to make our world more inclusive and accessible.  In the podcast we discuss: The early days of her recovery What it took to find her tribe How she overcame depression and found her passion Love and relationships Being a parent as a wheelchair user Content creation and the business of vlogging Wheelchair travel  Disability advocacy  To learn more and for links to Gem's content go to
Sophie Elwes is an international para athlete, peer mentor, adventurer and media producer. Given a 40% chance of surviving after a huge fall from a balcony, Sophie has built a life filled with excitement, adventure, service and love. In this episode we dive deep into self identity and what it took to pack up and leave the support of her family to travel the world. We discuss how she came to represent Great Britain in adaptive skiing and waterskiing, how she shaped her career, and how she overcame all the physical and mental hurdles along the way. Check it out! 
Megan Blunk is a gold medal winning paraplegic wheelchair basketball star that speaks openly about her struggle with severe depression. This was one of those podcasts that went DEEP straight away. Megan is courageous, talented and determined to make a better life for herself and others who struggle with their mental health.  If you or someone you know is feeling stuck in their life, be sure to check this out! More details and links are available at https://adaptdefy,com/podcasts
Ben Clark, dove into the sea “Baywatch style” and discovered it was shallower than he expected. The impact broke his neck, resulting in paralysis from the chest down. Drawing on 10 years of experience as a professional swimmer, he was determined to get through his recovery with physical and mental strength.  In this interview we explore an impressive range of topics, including: Self identity Mental health Happiness Falling in love with the process Post success depression Starting a youtube channel Being a coach in a wheelchair Prehab and not getting injured Sticking to exercises Smart goals Travel as a quadriplegic Dating Through his social media channels, Ben aims to, “adapt workouts, nutrition, advice, motivation for any and all situations” so that working out and staying fit is accessible for all.  I just love one of his favourite sayings, "There’s no path to happiness,  happiness is the path."  You can learn more about Ben and get his social media links at
South African paraplegic Alwyn Uys is a professional triathlete, entrepreneur and motivational speaker who knows how to train hard, focus his mind and achieve his goals. In this episode we unpack the accident that left him a wheelchair user, his daily routine, fitness hacks, and goals for the future. 
Brandon Winfield is the founder of iaccesslife, a mobile app that allows people with disabilities to rate and review the accessibility of venues such as restaurants, lounges, clubs, and bars. Paralysed at 14 years old he's had a rough ride. He meditates daily, and has worked on his mindset to shape the confident and successful man he is today. Check this out. 
Robyn Lambird caught our attention with her wildly interesting fashion images on instagram. Born in the UK with Cerebral Palsy, she emigrated with her parents to Australia where she immersed herself into sport. Never afraid of being herself, she is disabled, queer and proud! Oh, and she's a talented international athlete, social media influencer and style aficionado. Check it out! For full links go to
Kirk Williams is a photographer, van conductor, drone expert, marshmallow cooker, mental mechanic, and active quadriplegic after a routine mountain bike accident left him with a C5 burst fracture. Discovering access issues while travelling in South America he vowed to return, but this time in a custom van which has given him the ultimate freedom. In this episode we talk about the van and what modifications he's made, his road to recovery, his mental fortitude and advice, and how Covid-19 has affected his plans. Check it out! Follow Kirk's adventures at:
At 20 years-old, Peruvian born Marcela Marañon survived a fatal car accident that killed her boyfriend. She was left paralyzed and with a lower leg amputated. Living in the USA at the time and barely able to speak English she faced an ordeal of epic proportions. In this podcast we talk about how she managed to climb out of a deep hole and into a life of freedom, independence and travel. Marcela has a deep drive to change the world of disability and accessibility through her Journey of a Brave Women brand and large social media profile. 
Quadriplegic Alvaro Silverstein is the founder of Wheel The World, an adventure travel company helping to redefine adventure tourism for people with disabilities. We talk about growing up in Santiago Chile and the accident that left him with a broken neck. What helped him during his recovery, his life hacks, and how he came to start a world leading adventure travel company that offers accessible travel experiences in over 40 countries.
Jesi Stracham is a former ATV racing party animal, who powers through life as a paraplegic due to a solid foundation of goals, exercise, community and entrepreneurship. This episode is chock full of lifehacks and lifestyle design tips, and is not to be missed for those who are struggling to make headway in life or are looking to up their game. Tune in!  Key topics include: Starting the Wheel With Me Foundation How to set meaningful goals How to get on top of your mental health How to stay fit as a paraplegic How to do the Tough Mudder Race as a paraplegic How to find the opportunity within obstacles
There was a crowd around Andrew Skinner at the Abilities Expo in Los Angeles. He and the Triumph Foundation which he co-founded have made such an impact on peoples' lives that everyone wanted to see him. During this podcast interview it was easy to see why. Andrew broke his neck while on vacation at a ski lodge and even though his injury was in 2004, he still calls himself a recovering C6 quadriplegic. Combining determination, empathy and a willingness to put others before himself, Andrew has helped build an organisation and community that goes above and beyond to help others triumph after disaster.  In this episode we explore: Relationships and love after a spinal cord injury The importance of peer support Goal setting Mental health Being a rock star Starting a charity Living a life of purpose
Comments (1)

Dorje Mckinnon

awesome interview. Bruno thanks for sharing your story and experience with Mike , come down to New Zealand for a surf.

Jan 28th
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