Addressing the Republican National Convention on Wednesday night, GOP candidate Madison Cawthorne detailed his personal journey of recovering from a car accident that left him in a wheelchair at age 20 and going on to run for Congress at age 25.
Why it matters: Cawthorne, a motivational speaker who defeated the Trump-endorsed candidate in the June primary for North Carolina's 11th congressional district, is likely to become the youngest Republican ever elected to Congress in November. He will fill the seat once held by White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.
What he's saying: "At 18, I was in a horrific car accident that left me paralyzed from the waist down. Instantly, my hopes and dreams were seemingly destroyed. I was given a one percent chance of surviving. Thanks to the power of prayer, a loving community, and skilled doctors, I made it."
- "It took me over a year to recover. My first public outing in a wheelchair was to a baseball game. Before my accident, I was 6’ 3”. I stood out in a crowd. But as I was wheeled through the stadium, I felt invisible."
- "At 20, I thought about giving up. However, I knew I could still make a difference. My accident gave me new eyes to see, and new ears to hear. God protected my mind and my ability to speak. I say to people who feel forgotten, ignored, and invisible: I see you. I hear you."
He continued: "If you don’t think young people can change the world, then you don’t know American history."
- "George Washington was 21 when he received his first military commission. Abe Lincoln was 22 when he first ran for office. James Madison was 25 when he signed the Declaration of Independence."
- "In times of peril, young people saved this country abroad and at home. We held the line, scaled cliffs, crossed oceans, liberated camps and cracked codes."
The bottom line: At the end of his speech, Cawthorne was assisted as he stood up from his wheelchair and concluded, "Be a radical for freedom. Be a radical for liberty. Be a radical for our republic, for which I stand, one nation under God, with the liberty and justice for all."