By Mark Gaskins
Earlier this year, we introduced you to Corbin McKenzie… a bright young man who is an inspiration to many because he doesn't let his physical disabilities limit his dreams.
Corbin may be confined to a wheelchair, but one of his great admirers says his spirit is not trapped there.
Stevie Dement is a world class kick-boxer, the reigning bronze medalist, in fact… yet his goal now isn't about knocking someone down, but building him up. He's determined to compete as a Tri-Athlete– but there's a catch.
Photojournalist Mark Gaskins shows you in this WJBF News Channel 6 EXTRA report.
Michelle Claeys: “He's defiantly able to do things he hasn't been able to do before, you just see bit by bit the improvements that he's making and you hope it never stops”
Stevie Dement: “Corbin is a big deal, he's quite a big deal and he does he touches everyone around him”
Corbin McKenzie: “I aim to get out of the bed every day and get in the chair and make a difference and say God , what is it that I can do today”
Stevie Dement: “I overheard a friend talking about triathlons and he had seen some brothers one healthy and one disabled and they did the same type of tandum competition together so one would swim and pull his brother, he would bike and pull his brother and run and pull his brother. Well when I overheard that story a light went off and I said, you know I can do that with Corbin. Well Corbin didn't know initially what I was doing which was kinda funny because I knew how to swim the basic swim but I didn't know an affective competitive freestyle stroke. So I was swimming and I started bicycling, I started running, training for my first triathlon event and I had made up my mind at the first triathlon event is when I was going to tell him what I was going to do. But the ultimate goal is to do a true ironman and to do that with my boy here, with Corbin. So I'm doing so many on my own to get myself ready to do them with him. As you saw today swimming together that's ultimately what we are going to be doing but on a competitive level”
Michelle Claeys: “I think some people might find it intimidating, others might find it inspirational, I hope most people find it inspirational and make you want to get up off your sofa and do the next baby step, this all got started with baby steps. This isn't some man who woke up and said oh piece of cake I'm going to take a disable person with me, you heard Stevie say we had to teach him how to swim”
Corbin McKenzie: “I'm doing this as a mentoring experience for other disabled people so that they can learn that just because your disable doesn't mean you can't do awesome awesome things it may take a lot of work but you can do it”
Stevie Dement: “I'll do the triathlons but only if I have him with me so that inspired me as a matter of fact when I first told him I said you know I'm doing these for you he said no your ding them for you too, I said Corbin, I would not be doing these for me I'm sorry there's no way I would go out there and suffer for me, I'm doing this for us to do these together”
Corbin McKenzie: “Your actually touching my heart because I had no idea that I had such an influence on others”
Stevie Dement: “Well you are, you are and if what we're doing can have any impact on other people to do something, something of the like, then we've won, we've won just being together but I hope it dies impact other people”
You can follow Corbin and Stevie on their journey online… and if you want to help them raise money for the equipment needed to adapt Corbin's wheelchair, there's a way to donate on their website, Join the Freedom Experience. Click the link the says Follow Corbin's Journey.