Marcus A. York should look familiar to fans of The Office and CSI New York, since he’s appeared on both shows. A T10-11 para, York acts, writes, produces and directs from his home in North Hollywood, Calif. Check him out at www.geocities.com/marcusayork or just Google his name.
How’d you join the crip club?
A one-person, single car accident on Jan. 7, 1988. While reaching into my back seat for something, I inadvertently pulled up on the steering wheel too far, hit the ditch, flipped and rolled through a field.
What irks you?
I guess I haven’t been irked for a while. I’m pretty laid back, low-key … whatever happens happens. I try to make things happen for myself, but with other people, I just try to let it go.
How’d you get yourself together?
I flourished at Anderson University from ’93 – ’97. Each goal I reach, no matter what it is, raises my level of confidence. Ultimately I got to the point where I realized, man, I can go anywhere and do anything, regardless of these wheels.
What are you proud of?
Although my grades were brutal in high school, I had a triple-major in college — psychology, sociology and social work.
What are you not so proud of?
My addiction to chocolate.
How has your disability shaped you?
My chair is a motivational tool, it’s elevated my quality of life. I’ve been given a second chance to live, and so everything is all icing on the cake. Sometimes I wish I had that drive before my accident. I wonder what clicked in my mind, and why so many nondisabled people don’t have this gusto for life. It freaks me out when I think about it some times — in a good way.
I was in tears when I read about a lady in a third world country pulling herself across the street because she didn’t have a wheelchair. We have so much in this country, and it’s just the luck of the genetic draw that we were born here. She was able to get a wheelchair through Wheels for Humanity (www.WheelsForHumanity.org), a group I’m involved with.
I’m also involved with SCI Research Advancement (www.SCICure.org), because both approaches are necessary. We have to help people get the equipment they need now, and also we have to cure SCI so that the next generation will be able to walk after they become injured. The doctors are in place, the knowledge is in place, they’re just lacking the funding. They just need $1 million to get to the next stage — human clinical trials.
We could start something called “Four Million Quarters,” have people send quarters in. Everyone has a few quarters bouncing around somewhere. Of course, it would only take one million people to each give a dollar, and it’d be easier than mailing a quarter or putting a quarter on PayPal. So maybe we can get a million people to send a dollar each.