The Open Door: Mario Bailey Speaks at Benefit Dinner

Mario Bailey

On Sunday, October 20, 2002, Mario Bailey was among the speakers at a benefit dinner for St. Leonard’s Ministries held in Preston Bradley Hall at the Chicago Cultural Center.

Good afternoon, my name is Mario Bailey. For those of you who may not know my story, I am a wheel chair bound paraplegic as a result of gangbanging. I have a severed spine from a gunshot.

When I was first paralyzed, I felt as though my life was over; I felt as though I didn’t want to live any more, because I did not want to face the unknown. It’s all over because I can’t walk.

For the past year or so, I have been going through a mental struggle to turn my thinking around, to find something positive resulting from the shooting. With the help of some dear friends, I am beginning to realize that although the shooting was the end of one life style, it was also the beginning of another. The very bullet that put me in this chair could have easily killed me; instead I was spared – WHY?

While looking for some answers, I decided to go back and finish high school. Having achieved that goal, I can see that I need to set more goals for myself, because accomplishments are gratifying; therefore, I have decided to pursue a higher education, and perhaps work on a degree.

With the proper education, and my background, I’m convinced that I can carry a message of HOPE to the generations coming behind me. Although the imagery is not crystal clear yet, I can see that as I reach forward for the door to my future, it is opening wider and wider, in order to accommodate me, and this ole chair.

Thank You, I’m Mario.

—Mario Bailey

See “Off The Lease: Mario Bailey” – Part I and Part II; and “Mario Bailey: Graduation Day.”