Watch 3 Extraordinary Men Show Us How Similar We Really Are

Mickey Sarrialle is a hang gliding pilot, Tommy Hollenstein is an artist and Chad Allen is a magician, but they all have something in common. They’re living their dreams despite obstacles. In the video below, around the 1:48 mark, each man reveals what could have held him back in life but didn’t. Their stories are a wonderful reminder that we all face challenges, and perhaps, that’s our greatest similarity.

Want to learn more about the men in this video? Here are three things we learned while filming Mickey, Tommy and Chad.

Mickey Sarraille, Wildomar, California

1. Mickey has been hang gliding for 32 years. He started on a sand hill in Mexico and is now part of the Lake Elsinore E-Team. He hang glides two or three times a week.

2. He’s always loved flying high. “As a child, I wanted to be an astronaut and then I wanted to be an airline pilot.”

3. He chooses to compete against “regular” athletes instead of in para-athletic sports. “I think one of the hardest parts is not only the physical but the mental part — people look at you differently. I don’t want to be treated differently, I’m still a whole person, just missing a part.”

You can watch his hang gliding footage on Mickey’s YouTube channel.

Tommy Hollenstein, Canoga Park, California

1. His service dog Weaver inspired him to start painting. “I got my first service dog, and as he started to get older, I wanted something to memorialize all those good times we had together. So, I rolled through paint one day, had him walk through it, and I saw a set of tire track and paw prints, thinking, ‘Oh wow, that’s really cool.’ That’s how I knew I wanted to be an artist.”

2. Tommy did food art. After going to restaurant business management school at Orange Coast College, Tommy made a 50-pound banana squash into Noah’s ark and turned watermelons into rabbits.

3. He believes the backstory is just as important as the art itself. “A lot of people come to the gallery without knowing the technique, without knowing the backstory — just for the art. I want it to speak to them. You don’t have to be disabled to have a challenge.”

Check out Tommy’s website.

Chad Allen, Los Angeles, California

1. Most people think of magic as a visual experience, but Chad but didn’t start practicing magic until after he started losing his vision. “I was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa at the age of 15, but I didn’t really start practicing the performing aspect of magic until I was 21.”

2. Chad does more than magic. He also tap dances, emcees burlesque shows and plays the blues harmonica.

3. Chad’s magic tricks are on the big screen. He is featured in the documentary, “Dealt,” about the magician Richard Turner. Chad is also known for card tricks, sleight of hand and his billiard balls routine.

Visit Chad’s website.

This video was produced by Wire Walker Studios, a media company for social change.

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