Thursday, April 29, 2010

April 28, 2010 - How it all started

I conduct a school assembly titled “No Hands – No Arms – No Problem!” During this interactive disability/diversity awareness program I teach students that it’s okay to be different!

For information about my assembly, follow this link:

Before each of my early assemblies I sent out press releases to news outlets in the San Diego area to try and drum up media coverage. In February 2008 I received a call from a producer of “San Diego Insider”, a program that airs on San Diego Channel 4 (home of the San Diego Padres). She saw the press release and wanted to do an "Insider" story about my assembly and me. She then brought a Channel 4 crew to one of my school assemblies and to my home for an interview. The story aired in March.

To see the story, follow this link:

I went down to the Channel 4 studios afterwards to pick up a DVD copy of the story. While there I met again with the producer, who in turn introduced me to the video editor who helped put the segment together. He complimented me on my assembly saying, “I really enjoyed the part when you threw tennis balls into the audience. You have a pretty good delivery.”

“Thanks,” I quipped jokingly. “You guys should get me to throw out a first pitch before a Padres game someday.”

“We’ll see what we can do,” the producer chimed in.

I didn’t give it a second thought until May 17, the day my phone rang. The call was from a woman from the San Diego Padres who asked if I’d be available to throw out a first pitch before the Padres game on May 27.

“Of course!”

And that is how it all started!

Next up – Spring Training

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Welcome to the Tour!

Welcome to the official blog for the "Pitch for Awareness - 2010 Natioinal Tour."

My name is Tom Willis... and I was born without arms and hands. So I use my legs and feet to do everything in my life including writing, driving, and even pitching!

In May 2008 I threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Washington Nationals vs. San Diego Padres baseball game in San Diego. This "feat by amazing feet" (as it was called) was a big hit with the crowd and received extensive, positive media coverage. It proved to be a great way to show people that a person with a disability can do the same thing as any able-bodied person -- only in a different way.

So I decided to take this effort to the next level.

This summer I will throw out a first pitch at MLB stadiums across the country to continue to spread my message of the awareness ofthe abilities of persons with disabilities. And I'll conduct my program"No Hands - No Arms - No Problem!" for a local school or civic organization in each of my host cities.

I'll report each day during the tour to let you know what's going on. I hope you'll come along for the ride.

And you can help sponsor my tour (see website for details).

Be sure to check out my website for the tour --
and my personal/business website

Enjoy the ride!