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Overcoming Tough Times With eBay

eBay helped one man overcome major hurdles to create a life and livelihood based on his passion.

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Chris Mitchell's eBay days were far from over when hesuffered a stroke in July 2002 that left him in a wheelchair.Mitchell had already been selling items from around his house inModesto, California, for a year and a half and had grown quite fondof selling on eBay. He even kept his listings running as he headedto the hospital for what was slated to be a three- to five-day stayto correct a birth defect in his heart. "Little did I knowI'd have a stroke and be in the hospital for a month and ahalf," recalls Mitchell, 39. It's unclear at what pointthe stroke occurred during his scheduled operation. "All Iknow is, when I got in the gurney, I was able to walk," saysMitchell. "But when I woke up in intensive care, I could notstand."

After the stroke, Mitchell had to hang up his eBay hat for aboutthree months to recover from his medical problems, including ablood clot that landed him back in the hospital. But there was noway he was giving it up for good. "I've never let adisability stop me from doing what I wanted," explainsMitchell. "I was not going to let this stroke win. I was goingto beat it and get back to as much of a normal life as I hadbefore." It took him a year to get back to his previous eBayselling pace, due to fatigue and other issues. But eBay helped himtremendously during tough times. "It makes me feel like aproductive member of society," says Mitchell. "I feelvery independent, as I do almost everything for my business on eBaymyself."

Mitchell had been helping his parents and friends sell on eBay,so he took the next step and became an eBay Trading Assistant in2003. A die-hard baseball fan, he started focusing on sportsmemorabilia inventory in late 2003, including keychains,bobbleheads and license plates. Mitchell (eBay User ID:powerwheelerchris) often goes out looking for new inventory andloves to get out of the house. He has found that selling sportsitems lifts his spirits. "It gives me a lot of pride in what Ido," he says.

Mitchell reached an even larger pool of eBay enthusiasts when hecreated a new course at Modesto Junior College. Teaching a hands-oncourse on eBay there since 2004, he offers insight based on hispersonal experience selling successfully on the site. He alsobecame an Education Specialist Trained by eBay, giving himincreased credibility and listing him in the eBay EducationSpecialist Directory. His first class was so popular, the collegehad to add two more classes that semester. The classes aretypically full. Says Mitchell, "[eBay] allowed me to build areputation."

Mitchell believes eBay has leveled the playing field for him, asbuyers don't know he's disabled. However, it's clearthat Mitchell has done his part in creating the life he enjoys. Histriumph over adversity serves as inspiration--Mitchell'sabilities far outweigh any disability he's faced.

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