Connor Fogal – Brushing Off Hinderance

Writing By Aida Cloutier

About a year ago, Connor Fogal’s parents rented him a studio where he can paint and exhibit his work. Connor goes there two days a week, usually painting nature-based landscapes. He also began his own website,, which stands for My Life on Wheels. His goal is to bring awareness to the world about all types of disabilities.

One day, Connor started a “bucket list” consisting of all of the things that he wanted to do and accomplish.  On that list was skydiving.  Connor’s parents believed he’d gone nuts, but eventually gave in and allowed him to do it.  His father and brother decided to try it as well.  When he was 15, his old fourth grade school teacher was getting ready to perform her first solo jump.  Her brother owned a skydiving school near Las Vegas and she managed to arrange for Connor and his family to jump there.  When Conner was in the airplane, all he thought of was “what am I doing?”  However, he was still eager and that day performed his first tandem jump.  He remembers the air taking his breath away and the wind rushing past his ears so fast that it sounded like a freight train.  Then, when his parachute opened, everything suddenly became quiet.  Connor could actually see the roundness of the earth as he fell from over 12,000 feet.  He says the fall felt like both a second and an eternity at the same time.  When he landed, everyone cheered.  He remembers this as one of the most exciting days of his life.  Connor is happy that his family was there to share the experience with him and that they are brave enough to allow him to follow so many of his dreams.

This is a virtual reality of Connor’s studio space and gallery, Connor’s Creations, located within the Meadowood Mall. Here, Connor paints, interacts with customers and sells his work. (VR by Alex Pompliano.)

Some of the other items on Connor’s bucket list that he has accomplished are snorkeling, scuba diving, rock wall climbing, learning to use a computer and maneuver an electric wheel chair, and driving his father’s jeep.  He has also operated a jet ski with his brother standing behind him to support his back.   Connor has been to Disneyland on a couple of occasions.  He made sure to ride all of the rides when he was there.  Besides Nevada and Alaska, Connor has also travelled to Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, California, South Dakota, Nebraska, Illinois, Minnesota, Utah, and Wyoming.

Connor has many plans and dreams.  He would like to move out into a home of his own. Eventually he wants to get married and have children.  He plans on having a large family with a several pets. He wants to move to the Bay area as well as travel to the Bahamas and Florida.  He would like to fish all of the lakes in the United States.  He plans on taking his children to as many beaches as he can and buying them shovels and strainers to play with in the sand.   He wants to invent a lot of new tools that will help handicapped people.  He also plans on trying his hand at mountain climbing.  His first goal is to climb Mt. McKinley in Alaska.  Connor may sound like a dreamer, but no one who knows of his drive and determination would consider any of his goals unrealistic.

Connor’s love for his family has no bounds.  He’s very close to his sisters, Sylvia and Dawn, who took care of him when he was a baby.  His brothers, Jacob and Rusty, like to try crazy new things as much as Connor does.   He wants to spend more time with them hunting and fishing.  Connor really loves his parents, Russell and Theresa.  They are the ones that have given Connor the courage and conviction to attempt so many new and adventurous things with his life.  Connor was supposed to be a “vegetable,” but he has become what his mother, Terri, calls a “fruit.”

Connor, now 19, is constantly busy.  He’s a painter, photographer, participates in numerous sports, and maintains his own website.  He is also an author.  He is currently working on a book about his life, Connor Can and You Can Too, which he hopes will inspire others to overcome the odds in their own lives.  He types this book using the same type of head pointer that he uses to paint.  Below is a statement from Connor’s book which he wrote and that he wholeheartedly believes in:

“You cannot give up, even if you get stuck and run out of ideas. You never give up.  I think of what I really like and that makes me work even harder to achieve it.  If you think of something that you really love, you can do a lot more.  I hope it gets you on your feet and you can do what I did.”