“Paralyzed at 17”
3 months in Children’s Hospital and 32 years in a wheelchair. With a little humor and a lot of heart, Gavin’s speech will make a difference at your event. And for a limited time you can get Gavin to speak to your group of youth or adults in the United States for only:
Travel expenses from Monroe, Louisiana,
plus an honorarium of any amount
or email GavinTheSpeaker@gmail.com
“The most significant event in my life today was listening to Gavin’s spirit! His courage to go on was amazing.” — Patient, Our Lady of the Lake TAU Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
The greatest feeling
At age 17, a breakup led Gavin to make a tragic mistake that shattered his dream of playing pro baseball. Doctors gave him a 50/50 chance of living or being paralyzed from his neck down, but Gavin proved them wrong! He regained movement to his waist, feeling throughout his body, and complete independence. He graduated high school with honors, college with a Bachelors, and went to acting school. Since 1990, Gavin has given nearly 500 speeches across the United States. He has spoken alongside the US Surgeon General and US Secretary of Transportation in Washington, DC, and has been a part of nearly 40 films and TV productions, including a CBS special with a US President and a dozen TV PSAs that saved kids’ lives. Gavin believes the greatest feeling is knowing you made a difference in someone’s life. His speeches do exactly that.
“You have a way of getting through to people. You might have saved the lives of four of my friends.” — Student, Mulberry Baptist Church, Houma, Louisiana
Showing kids how one mistake can shatter their dreams
Gavin was a normal high school junior with dreams of playing pro baseball, but he made the same mistake so many kids make, and it shattered all his dreams. After a bad breakup, he thought getting drunk would wash away the pain. Driving home, the alcohol hit him suddenly and he blacked out and ended up in the next town 15 miles away somehow. He came around a curve, lost control, and slammed into a tree so fast that it threw him through the window glass, through the air, and into a telephone pole. His vehicle then uprooted the tree, followed him, and ran over his neck. It broke his neck, cut his spinal cord, and left him permanently paralyzed. It was only the second time he had driven drunk. He didn’t hurt anyone else … but he could have. This could happen to anyone. Tragedy shows no prejudice. It affects us all.
“If that didn’t reach them, nothing will. — Sue Little, Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Helping kids understand how precious life is
When Gavin was admitted into Children’s Hospital in New Orleans, he was paralyzed from his neck down, unable to move or feel anything below his neck. He thought life couldn’t be any harder. But then he started to look around at all the other children in the hospital, children who couldn’t talk or walk, children who were so brain-damaged they didn’t even know they were in the world, children who were kept alive by machines, children who were terminally ill and went to sleep every night scared that that would be the night they never woke up. Meeting those children and living in that hospital with them for three months made Gavin realize that no matter how hard our hardships get, we can always look around and find someone whose hardships are harder. Those kids gave Gavin strength to handle his own hardships and showed him that things could be so much worse and that he was so fortunate to be alive. Everyone has hardships in life. Gavin’s are just more obvious.
“As I was sitting in those bleechers listening to your story, hung on every word you said, tears started running down my face. Your story helped me realize how precious life is.” — Student, Carroll High School, Corpus Christi, Texas
Inspiring kids to overcome adversity
Gavin could’ve given up, but he graduated high school with honors, college with a bachelors, and went from being paralyzed from the neck down to having movement down to his waist, feeling throughout his body, and complete independence! His speech to youth is about tragedy & triumph, alcohol & drug prevention, hopes & dreams, safe & drunk driving, protecting loved ones & making a difference. It’s about what’s really important in life … and how to keep it all from being gone in an instant. Gavin believes the best way to reach kids is through their hearts, and since every kid has a heart, that means every kid can be reached. So let’s reach these kids!
“From the crowd’s silence during Miller’s speech, and the comments from students afterward, it appeared the schools found the right person.” — James Roland, Reporter, Charlotte AM, Port Charlotte, Florida