Fletcher Cleaves, 'The Wheelchair Nomad' Launches Nationwide Speaking Tour
Photo Credit: Fletcher Cleaves

Photo Credit: Fletcher Cleaves

Fletcher Cleaves, 'The Wheelchair Nomad' Launches Nationwide Speaking Tour

traveler story
Bernadette Giacomazzo
Bernadette Giacomazzo Dec 20, 2021

In the blink of an eye, college football star Fletcher Cleaves became The Wheelchair Nomad.

In 2009, a woman was texting while driving and smashed into his car. Cleaves was subsequently paralyzed from the chest down and lost the football scholarship he’d worked so hard to achieve.

But, he didn’t let this get him down. Instead, he became The Wheelchair Nomad, re-enrolled in college, and obtained a computer science degree. He turned tragedy into a testimony and spread the word to over 100 schools and colleges.

The Memphis, TN native believes that through positive messaging, he’s able to inspire people to believe that anything is possible. And now, he’s going on tour.

“We are looking for 20 schools/businesses from all over the country that would like to participate!” he said. “An organization has agreed to fund my travel to 20 schools/businesses in April 2022, Distracted Driving Awareness Month! We will be traveling the country sharing my story of distracted driving, disabled travel, overcoming adversity, the importance of education, and more to help bring awareness to the dangers of distracted driving and to motivate/inspire others.”

Inspired already, we wanted to learn more about Cleaves’ upcoming tour.

Travel Noire: Let’s talk about how your tragedy has become a testimony.

Fletcher Cleaves: My tragedy has become my testimony simply by me wanting to inspire others and save lives. My tragic car crash made me realize that life is a precious gift and I chose to live life every day to my fullest potential. I refuse to give up and let my wheelchair dictate how I live my life. I decided to travel the world and tell my story of safe driving, overcoming adversity, never giving up, etc. to help motivate and inspire others while bringing awareness to the dangers of distracted driving to help save lives!

TN: Tell us about your upcoming tour. What should we know about it? How can people get in touch with you to book you?

Cleaves: In April 2022, which is distracted driving awareness month, I will be traveling the country to 25-30 schools, colleges, businesses, etc. telling my story of distracted driving, making the right choices, overcoming adversity, the importance of education, and more to help bring awareness to the dangers of distracted driving and to motivate/inspire others. My travel fees have been taken care of by an anonymous organization, but an honorarium will be requested from each school, business, etc. that wants to participate. I am asking people to share this information and have anyone interested reach out to me, even if they want me to come during a different month than April. Please click on the speech inquiry tab and fill out the information in the link below If you are interested in hearing my presentation, you can also watch my AT&T commercial and find out more information about my journey.

TN: What would you say is the one thing people takeaway from your speaking engagements?

Cleaves: There are multiple things people will take away from my speaking presentation, but I feel that there are two points that are more important than the rest. Number one, the dangers of distracted driving. Distracted driving crashes and fatalities have increased drastically each year. More people are texting and driving, eating and driving, using the phone while driving, etc. than ever. This is extremely dangerous and is 100% avoidable if people just put their phones down and pay attention to the road. I became paralyzed, forcing me to lose my football scholarship simply because someone was texting while driving. My life was altered drastically. You are not only driving for yourself, but you are driving for others around you. Please pay attention while you are driving and do not be distracted. 

The second most important point I feel people can take away from my presentation is that you are capable of greater than you think you are. We all will have to overcome adversity at some point in our lives. But it is not what happens to you that defines you, it’s how you respond to it. My old football coach once told me, “the person that says they CAN and the person that says they CAN’T are both right. Which one will you be?” Believe in yourself that you can overcome any obstacle that is in your way and still fulfills all of your dreams and aspirations.

Those who wish to participate or know someone who is interested can get in contact with The Wheelchair Nomad via his LinkTree.

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