Inspiring Guest Speaker

Arthur Renowitzky presents inspiring story of his life with paralysis

Angelina Maravilla

Staff Writer

On Tuesday April 21, a guest speaker named Arthur Renowitzky voluntarily came to American High School to share his story with students, in what many say was an inspiring presentation. Anatomy teacher Mrs. Westover asked her students to bring in a local who lives with a spinal cord injury for extra credit, and junior Anju Krishan took the initiative to get Renowitzky to come to the school. Only a limited amount of students had the chance to hear Renowitzky’s story of his life with a spinal cord injury.

“The whole presentation was absolutely amazing,” junior Alyssa Rentar said. “Arthur’s story was truly inspiring and heartwarming, as he took an unfortunate event and turned it into something inspiring. After listening to his presentation, it made me want to go out and raise awareness about spinal cord injuries; I can’t imagine how many lives he has impacted in the past years!”

Renowitzky was shot and robbed at age twenty on December 2, 2007 outside of City Nights Club in San Francisco, California. The bullet went through his chest and lungs, barely missing his heart, and broke a thoracic vertebrae in his spine. He woke up from a coma approximately a month after the incident on December 23, 2007 to be informed that he had survived the gunshot but would live with a paraplegic spinal cord injury (paralysis in lower part of the body) for the rest of his life and wouldn’t be able to walk or talk again. But despite the damage to his lungs, he regained his voice.

“When I got my voice back I promised myself that I would never take my voice for granted and use it somehow and someway,” Renowitzky said. “I wanted to tell my story and share what happened to me, so I became a motivational speaker.”

He is now twenty seven years old and dedicates his life towards spreading awareness on spinal cord injuries and youth violence prevention. In 2007 he started an organization called the Life Goes On Foundation, and now presents worldwide at high schools, middle schools and colleges, where he shares his story and promotes a positive lifestyle.

“I enjoyed meeting Arthur and hearing his story,” says senior Emily To. “I think his situation is very unfortunate but the way he used it to bring awareness to spinal cord injuries and youth violence is truly amazing and inspiring.”

He does not want his injury to change his life or define him therefore he continues to live his life to the fullest. He has adjusted to his new life with the help of his family and friends. To stay active, he participates in wheelchair basketball and handcycling at the Bay Area Outreach Program in Berkeley, California and also trains with a personal trainer. He attended a rehabilitation program at San Jose Valley Medical Rehab Center in San Jose, California, and currently attends a Paralysis Recovery Program here in Fremont, California called Project Walk. He is slowly progressing in his recovery and hopes that one day he will be able to walk again.

“I have a lot of hope to come for the future; I want to inspire people to be positive in life and not negative, and I just want to inspire as many people as I can,” Renowitzky said. “I want them to know that you can overcome any obstacle you go through, but you can’t give up, you have to keep going.”

One of his passions in life is music, because music is another way he can share his story. He is a recording artist and has already produced a great amount of songs that can be found on iTunes and YouTube.

“Even though I can not walk anymore, everyday that goes by and every morning I wake up, I am very thankful to be alive, have my voice, and be able to use my arms and keep pushing,” Renowitzky said. “I am scared at times that I might get shot again or get hurt but I just have to think about the positive things in life and remember that life truly does go on. I am still breathing, have good health, and am able to do the things I love in life. Nothing is impossible, you can do anything.”

His story inspired many students to spread the word about his movement and raise awareness about youth violence and spinal cord injuries. He continues to gain supporters and raise money towards his foundation.

“Arthur Renowitzky’s story was truly inspiring and showed me that the little things in life should not be taken for granted,” junior Deangelo Ty said. “I fully support his cause.”

Thousand of people suffer from youth violence and spinal cord injuries today in the world. Renowitsky’s foundation heavily cares for the fate of our youth in today’s society, and encourages them to spread awareness and make a difference in the lives of others. His motto in which he lives his life by, and spreads to others is to: ‘keep pushing, and use your smile to change the world; don’t let the world change your smile.’

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