Why does Connor travel the world to fly kites? Because the Northwest Center client wants to raise awareness about epilepsy and anti-bullying. Connor, who has epilepsy, took his indoor kite-flying performance all the way to the 2010 semi-finals of America’s Got Talent (AGT), beating out 90,000 contestants and appearing in the “Live Wildcard Finals” top 12 in Los Angeles.
Connor used his AGT appearance as an opportunity to tell his story on network television and share the benefits of kite flying. “When I’m flying my kites, I never think about having seizures. Nothing can touch me,” he says.
Kite flying changed his life—and now he hopes it can help change others’, too. Connor travels the world with “Dare to Dream,” a program he co-founded with his mother Amy Doran, lead job coach at NWC. Together, they participate in kite flying festivals to raise epilepsy and anti-bullying awareness. They also team up with foundations to raise funds for Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy Patients (SUDEP).
In April, Connor and Amy will travel to Cervia, Italy for the Artevento Festival, where professional kite flyers come together to share their handmade kites and compete in flying competitions. At home in the Pacific Northwest, Connor also spreads the word about workplace inclusion for people with disabilities—he found his own job through Employment Services at Northwest Center.
Connor feels he’s living his dream, and he encourages others to believe in themselves and embrace their dreams, too. “If you believe in yourself, you can do anything,” he says. “No matter what type of disability you have or other life challenges, never give up.”
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