S4: Episode 9 - Billy Price | Taking Back Your Independence
Billy Price is paralyzed from the waste down. When he was in his freshman year of college, he fell out of a third story window. He hit the concrete head first, and broke his neck and his back. This was the moment that changed Billy’s life forever.
He woke up in the hospital without the use of his legs. This was the first day of the rest of his life. He fell into a really dark place for a while. He was feeling very bad for himself, sorry about the way his life was going. Then, one day, his mother had told him things were going to be okay, but he said to her, “What’s the point of living, if you can’t walk?” It absolutely crushed his mother, but it made him realize where he was mentally, and he decided to change. He stopped thinking about what had been taken from him, and he started to realize what he still had in his life. All the good things, and that’s what really changed everything for him.
He went back to college, he had his accident the first week of his freshman year, so he started where he left off. He ended up getting a mechanical engineering degree, and he went and worked for the Federal Aviation Administration, where he worked for almost 16 years. Then, he ran into a childhood friend at a party, and that is what set off the next stage of his life.
His friend, Darin Donaldson, who Billy grew up with, said that he wanted to start a footwear company. Talking about this made everything start to fall into place. Billy had been tired of wearing medical shoes and shoes with velcro. Everything about him already felt so different, he didn’t like the way these shoes made him feel.
From here on out, the story is how you would expect. They found a way to make a shoe that people with limited mobility are able to use with ease. They zip all the way around the bottom, so you can take most of the top half off, put your foot in, and then zip the shoe all the way around. They have given a bunch of people back some of their independence. Billy, himself, hadn't been able to put his own shoes on for 18 years, and he was able to take that back.
Now, they are creating more types of shoes that their community is asking for, and they are only growing from here. They are getting bigger and helping so many more people. Billy has overcome so much, and instead of letting his injury dictate his life, he looks at everyday like it’s a gift, and he’s decided to find a way to affect more lives than just his own.
Billy, thank you so much for being on the show. What an amazing conversation! We hope to talk to you again soon.