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
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
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
Centers around the nation.
He serves as a consultant to several
local, state, and national organizations and agencies regarding disability
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
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.
complete information, go to http://www.jsu.edu/depart/sowk/bsw_index.html
and see link to Social Work Conference Agenda.
for news releases by using the request form at www.jsu.edu/newswire/request.