MEDICINE HAT, AB — A former Hatter is heading out on a journey he hopes will inspire others and show them what is possible.
Warren Schlosser, who moved from Medicine Hat to Calgary in the 1990s, began taking his wheelchair on a trip that will span approximately 5,200 kilometers. He left Calgary on Canada Day, pulling two pet trailers, with the goal of arriving in Mazatlan, Mexico by December 17.
On Thursday, Schlosser was in Medicine Hat, taking a break from the first 10 days. He says he is enjoying being back in Medicine Hat.
“Lots of good memories,” he said. “I get to see family. My mother, she’s turning 80 on Saturday. I get to see everybody, lots of friends stopped by last night, have been in contact with me.”
Schlosser, a former truck driver, was injured as a passenger during a collision involving a semi truck in Utah on April 1, 2006. The collision severely injured his hip, and he needs a wheelchair to move around.
“It takes a while for some realization I guess, but yeah, it can hit you pretty hard when you’re active and on the go, and all of a sudden one day, it shuts down,” he said.
Schlosser said the most important thing for him as he adjusted to being in a wheelchair is staying positive, and with the journey, he wants to show people that there are no limits, except for what you place on yourself.
“Life doesn’t quit just because you’re handicapped,” he said. “There’s a positive side to it, we’ve kind of settled more on negatives. Just to show people what you can still do.”
Jed Vaughn, a friend of Schlosser, is traveling with him on the trip in a motor home, which is where the pair are sleeping at the end of each day. Vaughn is also writing about the journey’s progress.
The pair met in Mexico, where Schlosser lives during the winter, five years ago.
“He’s an amazing individual,” Vaughn said. “You know, with the pain he lives with, and his everyday stuff, you know, to maintain the attitude he does, he’s just really likable. He grows on you quick.”
Watching Schlosser as he travels down the highway, Vaughn says he is the toughest person he’s ever met.
“To wheel down the highway, up and down the hills, pulling two trailers, it’s kind of mind blowing still,” he said.
Schlosser says on a good day, he averages between 35 and 40 kilometers traveled in his wheelchair. He says after 10 days, the response has exceeded what he has expected, and he has received lots of support from people along the way.
He says it pushes him to keep going on the tough days.
“The people, the comments I read, the people stopping, saying hello, the honks, the waves, that pushes you to keep going,” he said.
A GoFundMe Page has been set up to help cover expenses for the trip. Any money left over at the end will be donated to six charitable organizations (STARS Air Ambulance, CNMGD – Homeless & Community Support, The American Cancer Society, the American Wheelchair Foundation, La Immaculada – Elderly Care Center and Mazatlan Animal Rescue).
Schlosser plans to resume his journey near Suffield Friday morning, with plans to leave Medicine Hat by the weekend.
You can follow along with his journey at www.wheelchairwarren.com