Home > Kevin Stories > Kevin Sorbo receives the IDA’s 2013 Inspiration Award

Kevin Sorbo receives the IDA’s 2013 Inspiration Award

Wayne ConnellThe Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA) is a volunteer-operated nonprofit that offers numerous services to people and their families around the world who are touched by illness, pain and disability. It encourages, educates and connects people and organizations via its websites, booklets, pamphlets, articles, inspiring and educational videos, radio interviews, events, seminars, projects, social network and social media. The 501(c)(3) organization also provides many resources to information about various illnesses, help with costs of medications, disability benefits and more.

Founded in 1997 by Wayne Connell, the IDA was formerly known as The Invisible Disabilities Advocate. It incorporated in 2004 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with Connell as its president.

Because the term, invisible disabilities, covers hundreds of conditions, the IDA, unlike organizations that pertain to just one condition, does not attempt to supply a vast InspAward1amount of detailed information for every diagnosis. Instead, its website, publications, seminars and awareness address all debilitating conditions that are often misunderstood.

_MG_6698_KSorbo1Each year, the excellent nonprofit recognizes individuals for their contributions to invisible disabilities, such as research, volunteer, impact, and perseverance, during its annual awards banquet. This year, the IDA bestowed actor/producer/author Kevin Sorbo with its 2013 Inspiration Award for his work in shedding light on the three strokes he suffered and subsequent recovery in 1997 while filming his popular internationally-syndicated television program, “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys.” Sorbo readily speaks publicly about his trials and triumphs that he documented in his inspirational book, True Strength: My Journey from Hercules to Mere Mortal – and How Nearly Dying Saved My Life, and tirelessly encourages people to never give up.

Wayne Connell kindly answered a few questions about the Inspiration Award and why the IDA chose Sorbo as the 2013 honoree. Thank you so much, Wayne!

SW:  Please explain the Inspiration Award.

WC:  The IDA Inspiration Award is given to people who have impacted the lives of others with their personal stories of battling illness, injury or disability. They have not only been through it themselves, but have a passion to reach out to others with encouragement and understanding.

SW:  How did Kevin Sorbo come to your attention?

Kevin’s journey was brought to our attention by someone on our IDA Team. I was, of course, familiar with Kevin’s work as an actor, but did not know of his strokes. I immediately purchased his book and read it straight through.

SW:  Why choose Kevin?

WC:  After reading his book, I shared with our IDA Team what Kevin has been through. We agreed he was the one we wanted to honor with the 2013 Invisible Disabilities Association Inspiration Award this year.

We found Kevin to be inspiring for all he has been through, his willingness to share his story and how he reaches out to others with compassion and encouragement.

In addition, commonly known for being Hercules, a strong and indestructible character, Kevin’s story was a perfect fit for our message. Many people living with debilitating illness, injury and pain appear to be healthy and strong on the outside, despite the damages they battle on the inside. This creates a perplexity for many friends and family as they look perfectly able to do what they have always been able to do, but suddenly say they cannot.

Many faced with debilitating conditions discover loved ones do not understand what their invisible hurdles and challenges that can bring about loss of career, homes, friends and family. Many people feel as if they are the only ones confronted with people who do not believe their conditions are real, the person is just not trying hard enough or they are simply exaggerating.

During the time when Kevin battled for his life after 3 strokes, he experienced this lack of understanding all too well. As Kevin said, even his doctor didn’t totally comprehend the struggles Kevin faced, when he released him back to work before he was ready. Later, his doctor jokingly told Kevin he did so, because after all, he “is Hercules!”

Kevin’s courage to share his story has brought to light that illness or injury can happen to anyone at any time. None of us is immune. We do not deserve it nor do we ask for it and it certainly doesn’t mean the person is weak.

Kevin’s candid accounts of his struggles and frustrations are feelings many living with invisible disabilities can relate to. What’s more, his journey encourages people to keep believing, keep hoping, keep fighting.

Here is Kevin’s award acceptance speech:


TSBooksPlease visit the IDA website for more information:


Kevin’s book is available on Amazon:


(Wayne Connell, IDA image and video courtesy of IDA;

Kevin Sorbo images courtesy of Kevin Sorbo)

  1. rhondagemini
    November 25, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    This is a well deserved honor for Kevin-loved his speech,it was very touching and heartfelt!

  2. butilookgood
    November 26, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    Excellent article! Thank you for sharing! Kevin is quite an inspiration. Thank you to the Invisible Disabilities Association for being there for those of us who live with debilitating conditions!

  3. December 29, 2013 at 6:13 am

    Great article, and congratulations to Kevin.

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