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Paraplegic and former drug addict rolling across the U.S. - KOAM TV 7

Paraplegic and former drug addict rolling across the U.S. is in the Four States

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Rolling across the United States can be quite a journey for a motorist or cyclist.  But one man has chosen to make the 3,300 mile trek in his unmodified wheel chair.

We met up with him on Wednesday in Seneca, Missouri.

"I happen to be in a wheel chair, but it doesn't limit my message," says Gabriel Cordell.

Eleven months ago paraplegic Gabriel Cordell was a drug addict who needed a change.  He says he sobered up, joined the YMCA and decided to do something never done before.

"Has anyone rolled across the country in a regular, standard, everyday wheelchair that represents the every day person? No."

Cordell says a car accident left him paralyzed 20 years ago but that won't stop his journey from  Santa Monica, California to Jones Beach, New York.  He plans to see the country going five miles per hour, rain or shine.

Cordell was even rolling through Oklahoma when the EF-5 tornado hit.

"Let me tell you, it was just unbelievable to see that with your own eyes."

Not only is he raising awareness for disability and addiction, but Cordell has a film crew in tow to share his story with the world.

"The person I'm dealing with is somebody who doesn't park in handicapped spots, he doesn't see himself as disabled, he thinks that spot is for somebody who needs it and he is not one of those people," says documentary director Lisa France.

The Seneca Chamber of Commerce says it feels lucky to be apart of Cordell's once in a lifetime journey as he rolls through their hometown.

"Here we are, a little town on the border kind of get forgotten, but then this once in a lifetime deal probably comes through your hometown, and you have a chance to welcome them into Missouri and show them what Missouri is about, means a lot," says Seneca Chamber of Commerce President Josh Dodson.

To Cordell, it is the people he has met along the way that make this journey worth it.

"I want to inspire them and give them hope and make them realize that we are all created equally so we all have the same tools within us, to help us accomplish whatever it is that we put our minds to," says Cordell.

From addition, hardships to disability, Cordell has seen it all, and he hopes to pave the way for others to tackle obstacles on the road of life.

Cordell says he is raising awareness for the YMCA on his journey.

He hopes to reach the east coast by July 1.

To follow Cordell's journey visit across the U.S. visit http://www.rollwithme.org/.

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