Homecoming Gala a Success!

October 4th, 2014 was a night not to be forgotten! Incight friends and family poured into the Kridel Ballroom at the Portland Art Museum sporting gear reminiscent of High School days – football jerseys, letterman jackets, cheerleading outfits, and homecoming dresses – to celebrate ten amazing years of Incight services at our biggest party of the year.

Executive Director Dan Friess, channeling his inner Gym Coach to MC the event – along with Student Body President Scott Hatley and Board Chairman Jerry Carleton as the Homecoming King – shared some of the amazing successes and stories from this year. We are thrilled to announce that we raised nearly $200,000 this year – thanks to our amazing family of donors! Save the Date for next year’s Gala on October 3rd, 2015!

2013 Gala Keynote Speaker John Kemp

Incight was proud to host John D. Kemp as our keynote speaker at the 2013 Fundraising Gala.

John D. Kemp is widely respected for his many achievements, both in the corporate and non-profit worlds. With personal disability experience using four prostheses, John inspires others to achieve the impossible through knowledge, experience, vision, personality, and persistence. Mr. Kemp graduated from Georgetown University in 1971 and from Washburn University School of Law in 1974. Mr. Kemp was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Law from Washburn University School of Law in May, 2003.

John D. Kemp is the CEO of Abilities! Abilities! is dedicated to creating a world in which people with disabilities will have the same opportunities as all other people, be treated with dignity and respect, and have access to all the benefits of our society. Abililities conducts a wide range of programs and activities to support this mission including research, job training, education, assistive technology, resources for business and more. Prior to Abilities, Mr. Kemp was principal at the Washington, D.C. Law Firm of Powers, Pyles, Sutter & Verville, P.C. for ten years. In his practice, he served as the CEO of ACCSES, HalfthePlanet Foundation and as the Executive Director and General Counsel of the US Business Leadership Network. In addition, Mr. Kemp represented several technology companies interested in disability.

In October 2007, Mr. Kemp received the New Freedom Initiative Award which annually recognizes non-profits, small businesses, corporations and individuals that have demonstrated exemplary and innovative efforts in furthering the employment and workplace environment for people with disabilities.

In March 2006, Mr. Kemp received the Henry B. Betts Award, widely regarded as America’s highest honor for disability leadership and service. Presented jointly by the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the Betts Award recognizes a person’s work and scope of influence that have significantly improved the quality of life for people with disabilities in the past and who continues to be a force for change in the future

Appointed by Secretary Leavitt of Health and Human Services, Mr. Kemp served on the Medicaid Commission from July 2005 through December 2006. Additionally, he served on the State Department’s Advisory Committee on Persons with Disabilities (2007-2010) which guides the Secretary of State and the Administrator of the Agency for International Development (USAID) in the formulation and implementation of U.S. foreign policy and assistance with respect to people with disabilities.

John D. Kemp has led, partnered, worked for and served on the Boards of Directors of many of the leading disability and nonprofit organizations such as: United Cerebral Palsy Associations, Very Special Arts, Independent Sector, The Abilities Fund Inc., Disability Service Providers of America, Easter Seals, Goodwill Industries of Greater Washington, and the U.S. International Council on Disabilities, to name a few. In 1995, Mr. Kemp co-founded AAPD and continues to be active with the organization today. During his tenure with Kemp & Young, Inc., John D. Kemp developed disability employment management training and consulting services.

Incight Newsletter 9th Edition


Living with an Invisible Disability
Incight Gala 2012
iPad Training Program Launches
Thanks to Those who Support Incight’s mission
Golf Cart Parade the Perfect Venue
Incight Launches its First Adaptive Sports Festival

Click the image for more.

Incight Newsletter 8th Edition


— FEATURE STORY – Cameron Clapp
Triple amputee Cameron Clapp gets on with the business of living and motivating others to do the same
Incight proudly announces our newest scholars
How networking proved lucrative for an Incight Scholar
Blind students learn about nonprofits
Incight holds its first ice hockey sled event
Children with limb loss experience the joy in mobility At Camp No Limits

Ridiculous Fun

Heather Brooks earned both her undergraduate

and graduate degrees from Portland State

University. She lives and writes in the Rose City, 

while completing an internship at Incight.



At an African airport, a little guy gets bored waiting for his luggage at baggage claim. So he convinces his travelling companion to lift him onto the luggage carousel. Off he goes! By this time, a lot of other passengers are watching the tiny figure in the sunglasses, wondering if he is a statue, a real person, or “the world’s most handsome duffel.”
He reaches the door to the baggage room at the end of the terminal without incident, but with the smiles, laughter, and shouts of “God bless you!” of the baggage handlers.
No, he is not a child.
Nor does he have dwarfism.
He is Nick Vujicic—pronounced Voy-a-chich– a 29-year-old Australian gentleman who stands three feet, three inches tall, and weighs 74 pounds, because he was born without arms or legs.
And if anyone knows how to have fun, it’s Nick.
He surfs. He swims. He fishes. He golfs. He plays soccer, the drums, and keyboard. He rides horses. Most recently, he’s taken up skydiving. He’s figured out how to do these things independently,
He discusses this concept of ridiculous fun in his book Life Without Limits: Inspiration for a Ridiculously Good Life. Nick bases this concept his belief that “every living, breathing person on the planet should be committed to doing something ridiculous at least once a day.” With that in mind he’s created what he calls “the Ridiculous Rules.” There are five of these rules, and they are guidelines for having, as Nick says, “ridiculous fun.” To paraphrase, the rules are as follows:
1. Allow a trial period. If it’s a long-term situation or commitment, such as a relationship, or a new color of paint for the living room, try a little bit temporarily, to see if your new venture is a good fit for you.
2. Do your homework. Gather as much information as you can about what you want to do. Of course you can take risks, but it’s always wise to know what you don’t know about your new endeavor. See item five for more details.
3. Consider the timing. Sometimes it simply is not the right time to take a risk. When N ick was 12, his family moved to California from Australia, to take advantage of the medical treatments available there for his condition. Four months later, they moved back. His parents hadn’t been able to find jobs or affordable housing. It wasn’t the right time. Nick loved California, though, and after he graduated college, he moved back there, and there he lives to this day. When he moved the second time, he had made all necessary arrangements, and the transition was successful.
4. Accept feedback. Ask for advice about your undertaking from those you trust.
5. Be prepared for anything. Every action has consequences, many of which are unforeseen. Always have an alternate plan should your primary vision fail.
Nick suggests that play and fun are necessary to good mental health. He cites a study of several hundred serial killers. Almost none of the subjects had regular play periods as children. Play is vital to guard against depression. The author of the study advises that work and play should be combined; we shouldn’t just set aside time for leisure.
Do you ever do this? If you’ve ever attended a business meeting over lunch, dinner, or coffee, you have.
I do too, although until I read about it in Nick’s book, I wasn’t aware of doing it. I volunteer for our local classical radio station. I hold a Masters in writing with an emphasis in editing. I edited the content of their entire website. One year, for my birthday, I couldn’t think of anything I’d rather do than volunteer at the station for an afternoon.
The staff thought I was crazy to work for free on my birthday, but I did just that. I provided them a service they needed while listening for four hours to music I loved. I still count that among the most wonderfully, ridiculously fun afternoons of my life!
Combining work and play is a regular habit with Nick. He travels the world as a motivational speaker, and his ride on the luggage carousel occurred on a speaking trip.
Even during his presentations, Nick has fun. He demonstrates how he answers a landline telephone. Though legless, he has a partly formed left foot. With the two toes on it, he lifts the receiver. Then he kicks upward, tossing the receiver onto his shoulder and securing it between his ear and shoulder.
The phone isn’t the only thing he kicks around on stage. A keen soccer player, Nick will select a member of the audience and ask him or her to stand halfway across the room, and catch a soccer ball that he kicks to them. For each presentation, he has his caregiver or caregivers place him on a table so that he is readily visible. He walks to the table’s edge, and balances there, very much to the worry of his listeners, who are usually afraid he’ll topple off!
He never does.
No matter how he demonstrates it, Nick is a living example of our belief here at Incight, that having fun is a form of the independence we seek to foster among members of the disabled community. For more about Nick, his story, or his speaking engagements, read his book, or visit his Web site at www.lifewithoutlimbs.org.

2012 Nike Featured Scholar: Steven Lynch

Name: Steven Lynch

School: Portland State University

Age: 22 years old

Major: Accounting

Favorite Extracurricular Activity: Loves watching and attending the Seattle Mariners baseball games


It was a love of baseball that first sparked Steven Lynch’s interest in statistics.  Realizing his gift of understanding numbers and mathematical processes, Steven decided to pursue a degree in accounting at Portland State University following graduation from Sherwood High School in 2008.

Growing up as a child with muscular dystrophy, Steven has encountered a wide variety of life experiences in his 22 years.  A sucker for the limelight, Steven flourished in the extra attention he received in his wheelchair and looked forward to attending MDA camp every summer.  His confident, easy-going demeanor helped him overcome judgment from peers who may have possessed pre-conceived notions or misconceptions regarding his disability.  Living without regret, Steven is thankful to have a strong support system in his family and friends and believes that “everything happens for a reason.”

Steven navigated his independence during his college years by hiring full time caregivers to allow him flexibility in transportation, planning social events, and going to class.  Though coordinating schedules with a number of people adds a level of complexity to otherwise simple tasks, with enough planning and organization, Steven is able to balance the availability of his assistants to accomplish what he needs.

Steven chose to attend PSU due to its close proximity to home and strong business program.  He considers attending college one of his greatest successes to date.  “I know it doesn’t sound like much but just the fact that I was able to graduate high school and attend college was a big deal for the situation I’m in.”

If he could give any advice to younger students with disabilities, Steven would recommend asking plenty of questions when you have uncertainties.  In his earlier years at PSU, he was often hesitant to address his concerns with professors though he learned through experience that seeking clarification was the best way to achieve success in the classroom.  Steven suggests that it is also important to start early when seeking accommodations from the Disability Resource Center, as he once waited to the last minute and had to begin the first day of class without a proper desk.

In addition to attending college, Steven has volunteered his free time working with the Muscular Dystrophy Association and was honored with the Courage Award for his tenure as the Goodwill Ambassador for the state of Oregon in 2005.  “I always felt good when I gave back to a worthy cause.”

Following graduation, Steven would like to establish his career by starting his own business or joining an accounting firm, though his dream job would be to work for his favorite baseball team, the Seattle Mariners.  Thanks to support from Nike, finding the financial resources to attend college is one less obstacle for Steven to face in pursuing his dreams.  We are certain that graduating from Portland State University is just the first of many great successes to come in Steven’s future.

Two Sides to Every Horse by Heather Brooks

Heather Brooks earned both her undergraduate

and graduate degrees from Portland State

University. She lives and writes in the Rose City, 

while completing an internship at Incight.




When you have cerebral palsy, your body ages faster.  Comes with the territory.


But that doesn’t mean that the loss of abilities you once had isn’t hard to take.


It started as just a form of physical therapy, but as I grew up, horseback riding and everything to do with horses became a passion of mine. I rode for the last time when I was 12.


And then I got older, and bigger, and my body stiffened.  I stopped doing therapy, and, I confess, generally neglected myself for years. By the time, about a year ago, that I decided I wanted to ride again, my hips were shot.  They were nearly out of joint. An orthopedist told me I’d probably never ride again.


That was a week before my 29th birthday, and it was a blow. I cried like a five-year-old, complete with loud wails and a drippy nose.  I promised myself I would ride again. Gradually I calmed, and the little voice in my head decided it was time to have a logical conversation.


“Riding isn’t everything,” it said.  “It’s only a small part of working with horses. You’ve got to have a good ground rapport with any horse before you even dream of hopping on its back. You have to study its body language. You do that by watching the  whole horse.  And everybody knows you can’t see the whole of a horse when you sit on it!”


Right through my tears, I burst out laughing.  “Of course!” I said out loud to my empty apartment.


The little voice continued. “You sit on a horse, honey, and you can’t see his emotions in his eyes, and you may not be able to feel through the bit the tightening of the mouth that could mean he’s angry or frightened. Remember Titan.”


How could I forget him? Titan is my friend Brandon’s quarter horse, a mighty gelding, huge for his breed, and a brilliant red chestnut color. Titan is only eight, but already he’s had a rough life. Brandon rescued him from a neglectful situation, and was the only human Titan liked.


Until I came along.


“He’s feisty,” Brandon warned, before he introduced us.


“So am I,” I countered.


As Brandon led Titan toward me, I could actually watch his pace slow. I saw that proud neck bend in submission, and the long lashes sweep down over brown eyes that had suddenly softened. The big ears canted toward me, a sign of respect, and stayed that way while he grazed a little. Then he turned his attention to my chair, on which he began to chew, while I had a laugh attack.


After a few minutes of chewing, sniffing, rubbing, and other sensory explorations of my machine, he sighed, accepting my equipment as part of the package.  He blew comfortingly into my hair, and stood perfectly at peace as I talked to him and stroked his neck and flanks. He didn’t spook when I pulled my chair around in front of him, and right up under his chin.  Brandon’s girlfriend, Jaquie, took a picture of this, and it worried my poor elderly mother to pieces. “Eee! You’re close to him!” she fretted when she saw the photo.


“Of course I am. That’s why Brandon and Jaquie brought me there. So I could see horses and get close enough to touch them. You forget, I’m not afraid of horses.”


“I would be so afraid!” groaned Mom, wide-eyed. “I can’t understand why you’re not. They’re so big!”


My older sister finds it “hilarious” that I’m not scared. I had to remind them both that I’d been around horses periodically since I started riding therapy at age four.


Not long after my visit, Jaquie told me that Titan had bucked off his latest rider, and this wasn’t an isolated incident.  Part of me couldn’t believe that the gentle giant who’d nuzzled and “kissed” me with his soft nose was a bucker. But then I thought of Titan’s past, and his view of the human race as a whole.


And then I wondered about the rider.  Had she taken the time to build a ground rapport with Titan? Had she read his mood in his eyes, the tension of his mouth, the angle of his ears, or the position of his legs? Did she run her hands over his glossy coat to feel whether his muscles quivered with anxiety? Had she talked to him so he’d come to recognize her voice, or given him a minute to nuzzle her hair and acclimate to her scent? Had she approached him quietly but confidently, letting him know she neither feared, nor meant to harm, him? I didn’t judge her, but I wondered about these things.

I thought of all of this as I sat in my room after that crying spell. I realized that if I had simply gone for a ride on Titan, I wouldn’t have established a rapport with him. I wouldn’t have won his trust; he might have thrown me sky-high, and left me in even greater need of a wheelchair!