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3 April 2008
Jacksonville State University's 27th Annual Social Work Conference Keynoter to Speak on His Disabling Disease that Transformed Him from Ranger/Special Forces to Comeback-from-the-Dead, Four-Times Survivor

Scottie O’Neal

Scottie O’Neal has been considered disabled since 1994, at which time he was diagnosed with a rare blood disease called acute intermittent porphyria. His disease process has caused numerous health concerns and complications such as strokes and comas.  One coma, in 1999, left him paralyzed and he uses a power wheelchair for mobility.  He has had allergic reactions/intolerances to all forms of pain medications and all but two forms of anesthesia. He has had seventy-two comas, and has at one time been blind and at one time deaf.  He has coded seventeen times and been pronounced dead four times.  His medical bills to date total over 20.4 million dollars. His current prescriptions cost are $111,000 every three months.

Before his illness became active, he served as a US Army Ranger and Special Forces sniper, paramedic, rescue and recovery diver, firefighter, deputy state fire marshal / arson investigator, law enforcement officer, and a federal fugitive recovery agent.  He is the current Executive Director of Disability Solutions in Hartsville, South Carolina.  He also is a Vice-Chair of the Governor appointed South Carolina Independent Living Council (SCILC), a board member of the SC Spinal Cord Injury Association and serves as a national consultant to the US Department on Aging’s efforts to establish Aging and Disability Resource Centers around the nation.  He serves as a consultant to several local, state, and national organizations and agencies regarding disability issues.

He hopes to one day see an America that truly stands for liberty and justice for all not liberty and justice for some.  He has testified before the US Congress on the Americans with Disabilities Act and he has been invited to the White House because of his advocacy for disabilities.  In his spare time, he teaches self defense to people with disabilities around the state of South Carolina (he is a certified instructor in three forms of martial arts).  He also gets wheelchairs donated and ramps built for people that need them.

He will be describing his experiences to raise awareness about disabilities during a presentation at Jacksonville State University’s 27th Annual Social Work Conference on April 18, 2008.  He will also explain how people might get involved to improve conditions for disabled people. 

According to Dr. Mark Fagan, Head for Sociology and Social Work at JSU, “he is one of the most inspirational, educational, and motivational speakers I have heard in my 38 years spent around college campuses.” There will also be two sessions on Autism, four sessions on special needs of children, and two sessions on social work advocacy. 

For complete information, go to and see link to Social Work Conference Agenda.

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