‘The Phoenix Factor with O’Leary’ Oct. 1 on Campus


CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Sept. 17, 2008 — Disability Support Services in association with Educational Access Programs, the Office of Residence Life, the Office of Equity and Diversity Issues, and the Dean of Students of Southeast Missouri State University are proud to present “The Phoenix Factor with John O’Leary” Oct. 1 at Southeast Missouri State University.

O’Leary’s captivating message shares the challenges John experienced on the road to success and how he overcame these challenges. O’Leary will present his message at 7 p.m. in the University Center Ballroom.

O’Leary’s life is proof of the power of the human spirit. As a 9-year-old boy living in St. Louis, he was burned on 100 percent of his body and given less than one percent chance of surviving the first night. He endured months in the hospital, years in therapy, dozens of surgeries, and lost all of his fingers to amputation. Despite the odds, he overcame these challenges and enjoys wonderful success in life.

O’Leary is a college graduate, business owner, philanthropist, husband and father. His emotional impact can be realized with individuals across the globe. His incredible compassion and genuine approach can be experienced from the platform, his volunteer work as a chaplain at a children’s hospital and as a Big Brothers, Big Sisters Ambassador.

This interactive, diverse presentation is being provided in part to honor Disability Awareness Month.  As such, the presenter will address how we can grow from challenges, change our direction, rise to new heights and soar in life. The lessons within the presentation won’t take away pain from past events; they won’t remove scars or change what has already happened in the professional and personal lives of the participants. Instead, the presenter will reveal that it is from our scars and failings that our greatest successes originate. The Phoenix Factor proposes we can’t avoid tough times, but we can grow from challenges, change our direction, rise to new heights and soar in life.

If you would like more information about this event, or to schedule an interview with Mr. John O’Leary, please contact Disability Support Services at (573) 651-2273 or ekoliveira@semo.edu.