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Perspective from an Electric Chair

Published: Thursday, 30 Mar 2017
Author: VIPP
Department: Visiting International Professional Program

As part of our Signature Lecture Series VIPP collaborates with local figures, businesses, government offices, and other MSU departments to enrich participant's American experiences. Mo Gerhardt, of the MSU College of Natural Science and the Spartan Sports Network, spoke at the International Center to share his thoughts on courage and perseverance.

Mo Gerhardt was born in Traverse City, MI. At the age of eight he was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy and was told by doctors that he would be lucky to live beyond his teens. In the fall of 2006, at the age of 28, Mo's diagnosis was changed to a rarer form of muscular dystrophy, Limb Girdle 2D.

Along with muscular dystrophy, Mo has experienced many physical obstacles in life including being in a bus accident, multiple bone fractures, osteoporosis and loss of vision in his right eye.

Mo graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration and then completed a Master of Science degree in athletic administration. He currently works in the College of Natural Science at MSU and is also employed through the Spartan Sports Network as the MSU Women's Basketball radio analyst. He lives with his service dog Lavoi in Bath, MI.

Participants had the opportunity to listen to Mo speak. He covered many topics including sports, growing up, perseverance, and plans for the future.

During his presentation, Mo covered many different topics; growing up disabled, how sports have impacted his life, and what others can do to help include those that are different from them. "Your diagnosis doesn't determine your outcome," Mo said, "I'm thankful for everything that I'm able to do. I recognize how blessed I am to have my family and friends in my life."

Participants pose for a picture with Mo. They were inspired listening to his presentation and his views on life.

Mo talked about playing baseball as a kid, participating in the WCHL (Wheelchair Hockey League) and how his love of sports led to a career as a sports analyst. He credited his achievements to a supportive network of friends and family. "It makes the difference," Mo stated, "I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by people that didn't treat me different, I was their equal." Mo continues to spread awareness by traveling around the Lansing area and speaking to different groups of people. He encourages others to be the difference in someone's life.

After the presentation there was a Q & A with the audience. Mo discussed his plans for the future and what he loves most about MSU. "My family and I traveled across the country visiting schools when I was applying for college, but nowhere came close to Michigan State." Participants from Joe Cousins' American Culture class were entered in raffle and the winner received a signed copy of Mo's book Perspective from an Electric Chair. The winner of the raffle was Zhaoxia Zhou, a lawyer from the Dacheng Law Firm in China, congratulations to her!

Congratulations to Zhaoxia Zhou on winning a signed copy of Mo's book!

VIPP is proud to be part of an inclusive campus where everyone belongs. We would also like to thank Mo for his time with us. If you would like to learn more about Mo Gerhardt or pick up a copy of his book make sure to visit his website at: http://mogerhardt.com/.

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