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Wabash to Host National Champion, Screen Documentary

Wabash College invites the public to a screening of the award-winning short documentary, 1,500 Miles, and a presentation by the film’s subject, Nicole Ver Kuilen, at 8 p.m. on October 3 in the Salter Concert Hall. Tickets are free.

Ver Kuilen, 27, lost her leg to bone cancer at age 10 and later graduated from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business. A competitive athlete frustrated by her insurance company’s unwillingness to provide the prosthetic she needed to compete, she left work to become a full-time advocate for persons with disabilities.

The 18-minute documentary short, 1,500 Miles chronicles her personal, 1,500-mile triathlon down the west coast – all designed to bring awareness to the many battles people with disabilities must fight.

Wabash welcomes Nicole Ver Kuilen to campus on Oct. 3.“I hope one day our society can become more compassionate and empathetic to understand the struggles people without privilege face, and use that knowledge to guide decision making,” Ver Kuilen said. “You don’t need to walk a mile in my shoes to understand; you need to open your heart to being more compassionate.”

After the screening, Ver Kuilen will take questions about her disability, the film, her foundation (Forrest Stump), climbing mountains with one real leg, and how she is challenging insurance companies and governments to do right by people with disabilities.

Ver Kuilen is a 27-year-old, para-triathlete who recently won the Paratriathlon National Championship in Long Beach, CA. “Securing this win was so important to me,” Ver Kuilen said. “Not only was I racing to prove myself as an athlete, but I wanted to show the world what can happen when an amputee is given the appropriate prosthetic technology, such as a running blade. Something I waited 16 years of my life to access.”

Her visit is sponsored by the President’s Distinguished Speaker Series.