Celebrating the Life of Fred Fay
When Pete's cousin Fred was 17, he launched his disability advocacy career. Today Fred is widely recognized as one of the most significant leaders in the disability rights and independent living movements in the nation.
As you read this story and follow the links, you can hear Fred tell his story.
As a teenager, Fred was an accomplished gymnast. At age 16, he fell from a trapeze and landed on his head, suffering a severe spinal cord injury. Despite his injuries, Fred was determined to live a full life. He wanted to show that a person with quadriplegia could be active, own an apartment, drive a car, get married, have children, and earn a Ph.D. In the video links below, you'll see and hear Fred tell his story.
Fred accomplished his dreams, while also working to secure unprecedented access to civil rights for Americans with disabilities.
As a disability policy adviser to the Administration and Congress, Fred was instrumental in winning passage of Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, the ADA of 1990, and the IDEA of 1997.
When President Johnson invited Fred to the Rose Garden for the signing of the the Urban Mass Transportation Act 1964, his wheelchair had to be bumped up the steps - the White House was not accessible.
"Lobbying to get access for the disabled became his life's work, achieving it has become his life's triumph."
At home in Washington, DC, Fred found "every single curb was like a Berlin Wall telling me that I was not welcome to travel farther than a block." When Fred read about the new DC subway system to be built he thought "Why don't they build it so that everybody can ride it?..."
Fred's life proves that one man can change the world, even though he has to lie flat on his back just to stay alive.
Lives Worth Living - Premieres on PBS October 27, 2011
Lives Worth Living, a film about Fred's life, follows one man's struggle to survive after a spinal cord injury and his role in the earliest days of the Disability Rights Movement. This film is the first television history of their decades-long struggle for equal rights.
In this trailer, Fred as he tells you about his life after a devastating spinal cord injury, and his alliance with a small group of dedicated activists who formed the Disability Rights Movement and helped drive the nation towards equal rights.
Find PBS broadcast times in your area. Exact broadcast times and dates for some regions are available (and are being updated every day) by clicking on this link: