Many people ask me the question, “If there was a cure for CP, would you seek it out?” My answer always surprises people. Unless CP is endangering my life, my answer is no. I have learned so much because I have CP. Most importantly, my path has crossed with some of the most amazing people on this earth directly because of my CP. Recently, my path crossed with Tyler Hogue, owner of YNOT Life Style Clothing Company.
In 2008, Tyler started YNOT at his family’s sign shop. He printed off stickers to give to friends and family. The YNOT motto was well received and a business/brand was born! YNOT officially became a company/brand in 2010. When asked about YNOT’s mission he stated, “I like to see the mission being a statement to just stay active. I hear the term used unconditionally daily and I think it is something people don’t notice. So if I can help people and motivate them in any way that is what makes me happy.”
Prior to 2011, Tyler was an avid surfer and skateboarder. He also loved riding on his motorcycle, as a matter of fact with a YNOT sticker on his helmet. His life changed in an instant when he was involved in a motorcycle accident. Tyler broke his C1, C2, T5 and T6. A fusion of his C1 to C4 was necessary and has limited his neck movement. The accident resulted in paralysis and Tyler is unable to feel from his chest down. Additionally, his wrist was shattered and he now has carpal tunnel.
I asked Tyler if he remembered his accident. “Complete. I remember from front to back nearly. Some give me the “you’re crazy” look when I say it, but I had an experience with death and it shed a bit of enlightenment on my life. Now I am just searching for me at any moment I can.” Tyler had a “painful 4 solid years” of recovery. He battled through bed sores, surgeries, therapies and adjusting to being a wheelchair user. Tyler summed up his accident and recovery with these inspiring words “I literally would say I’ve rolled into a perspective of life I NEVER imagined”
Transitioning from an able-bodied life to a wheelchair user is challenging. Tyler had to learn how to dress, do personal cares and drive as a wheelchair user. He also faced the challenge of “learning to deal with inconsiderate people who don’t know how to deal with people with disabilities.” However, he had a great deal of support along the way. Tyler’s main support came from his mom and sister. His grandparents, uncles, cousins, friends, co-workers and even strangers reached out to support him through this transition. “Till this day it’s nice to hear someone say how proud they are, although I hate stroking my ego, it’s nice to see someone notices hard work in life. Just as people should tell you how hard of a worker you are day to day encouraging people to keep rolling and keep smiling.” (Thank-you for stroking my ego, dude!)
Some thought that the accident and permanent injuries would “be the end to Tyler” He had different ideas, “So I turned my life around not only to show them, but more importantly to show my mom that it’s going to be okay. When moms see their children smiling and doing okay, they’ll be okay themselves. Nothing like a mother’s love and they deserve the best.” Personally, I could not agree more.
There have been hard adjustments, “Leaving my motorcycle, skateboard and surfboard behind. Hands down”. However, Tyler continues to live a YNOT active life style. In fact, he is more active than some of his able-bodied friends. “I live about 30 minutes from the beach with mild traffic, so to enjoy some time to myself I walk my dog at the beach at any chance I get. I try to go on vacations and sight see when I can. Most people don’t do very much and they’re “able bodied” they work themselves into a grave much to earlier. But I sit and talk to anyone I meet for as long as they’d like. I always try to give anyone no matter their position, the time of day.”
Tyler’s disability has taught him some valuable lessons, “It’s taught me to seek the best in myself and also in others. It’s taught me my days are numbered. The number? Only God has that number. But I am not going to take for granted that it can be at any moment. So enjoy what you have. Tell people you love how much they mean to you. Stay active and always be sure to keep positive.” Plain and simple, no matter what curve ball life throws at you, “Be happy”.
Tyler’s disability has not stood in the way of his drive to build YNOT Life Style. Tyler initially started YNOT with the support of friends and family. However, he had to gain the support from his community to make it work. Competition from other local brands also posed challenges. Keep in mind, YNOT was created BEFORE Tyler’s injuries. I asked Tyler what motivated him to continue after his accident. Tyler credits his friends (along with the support from his mom and sister) for pushing him to move forward with his business. “I put them all through hell at some points but we all became stronger throughout and I couldn’t be happier they did what they’ve done.”
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