Campus

Born With a Disability, Destined to Be Inspirational

CSI Alumnus Eric Sogo Walking with a Purpose

By: Salvatore Cento

Eric showing off the first half of his walk which will take 6 hours.
Credit: Salvatore Cento

“By my age, most of the people that are diagnosed with what I have are either confined to a wheelchair, or just dead.”

The disease in question is limb-girdle muscular dystrophy. The man’s name who the above quote is attributed to is 22 year old CSI Alumnus, Eric Sogo.

Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy is a disorder that causes progressive frailty and decay in the proximal muscles around the hips and shoulders. In turn, these symptoms can eventually cause the person to become severely disabled.

When he was two years old, Sogo’s parents noticed that he was walking funny while at the playground one day. The doctors then revealed that he had this condition in him since he was born. From that point on, Sogo has had to go through speech therapy, occupational therapy as well as physical therapy.

  “People always say to me – you can’t do this and you can’t do that because you have limitations. I’ve always been told that I wouldn’t be able to do much with my legs, let alone walk.”

He has already proven his naysayers wrong in a couple of different ways. First, Sogo graduated from the CSI in the Spring 2019 semester with a Minor in Psychology and a Bachelor’s in English. 

Then, on July 22nd of this year, he made it a personal journey to walk from the St. George Ferry Terminal to the Staten Island Mall. This expedition was covered by the Staten Island Advance.

“When I started that day, I was hyped, amped and very excited. When I finished, I was very tired and pretty sweaty. But still pumped that I got to the finish line.”

Doing this kind of trek once wasn’t enough for Sogo. Currently training by racking up anywhere from 5,000 to 11,000 steps a day, he has two more walks that are in the works. Each one of them is going to be longer than the last. 

The first one is on October 5th, where he will be going from St. George to the Conference House and then back to the SI Mall. The second one, which will be scheduled some time next year, Sogo will be walking all the way from Elizabeth NJ to the SI Mall.

Even though he is adamant about doing this alone, he does want to share these experiences in real time through the digital world. “During these upcoming walks, I will be taking pictures and live streaming at certain intervals, showing people where I am and how I am doing.”

Besides hoping to raise awareness for LGMD through doing these activities and holding fundraisers, not only is Sogo hoping to work at the Staten Island University Hospital, but he is striving to become a motivational speaker for anyone who needs a bit of inspiration in their everyday life. 

He looks to garner people’s attention with his EricSogo2019 facebook account where he hosts motivational monday livestreams and his @delete_the_word_can’t Instagram account where he posts daily content.

Bearing business cards to the interview, a slashed out “can’t” is printed on the right side of every calling card. Sogo tells me that this is his slogan.

“That word should be removed from the dictionary. Saying that you cannot do something is nothing but a mental dampener. Taking that term out of your vocabulary would instantly push you in the right direction.”

And he wants people to know this. Before going our separate ways at the conclusion of the sit down, Sogo pulled out a handful of his business cards from his back pocket and laid them out on the table we were sitting at. This was a well known restaurant. I was concerned over the fact that anybody could pick them up.

Sogo replied  “A mile is only possible with a single step.”

Categories: Campus, News

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