David Ring was clinically dead for the first 18 minutes of his life.
Delivered stillborn, Ring’s lifeless body was placed on a table while the attending physician worked feverishly to save his mother’s life. But Ring’s life did not end that day. And his story continued as no one thought it would.
“I was not supposed to live past age 30, but here I am at age 62 today,” Ring told a packed auditorium of students at Northeast State on Wednesday morning. “Every day is one more blessed day for me.”
Ring visited Northeast State as keynote speaker for Disability Awareness Week sponsored by the College’s Center for Students with Disabilities. His extraordinary life is chronicled in his recently released book, The Boy Born Dead: A Story of Friendship, Courage, and Triumph.
Due to the trauma of his birth, Ring was afflicted with cerebral palsy. Growing up in the small town of Liberty, Missouri, during the late 1960s, he faced many challenges resulting from those 18 minutes of silence. Along with his physical limitations, Ring’s father passed away and his mother died when he was 14. Orphaned and alone, he was moved from home to home, suffering abuse that made him feel unworthy of love and, eventually, unworthy of life.
Ring said the difference maker was the day he learned that God loved him. An admittedly angry and rebellious teen, Ring said he took to heart the belief of, “It isn’t over until God says it’s over” and realized God had a purpose for his life.
“I will tell you I don’t believe I have a disability,” he said. “I believe God has taken cerebral palsy in me and used it to bless me so I can inspire others.”
Today, Ring leads an internationally known ministry that encourages hundreds of thousands every year. He has racked up more than 7,000 speaking engagements across the United States during the past 42 years.
The teenage Ring was often told the things he could never achieve. His response to the naysayers was simple: He stopped listening to them. Instead, he got to the business of doing those things. He spent more than 18 years in speech therapy to improve his language. He learned to ride a bike, drive a car, manage his speaking business, marry the love of his life, and deliver his testimony to millions of listeners.
“My ‘want to’ is very strong and if you ‘want to’ bad enough you can accomplish so many things,” Ring said. “How many times you fall down, it is about getting up one more time.”
The Boy Born Dead is out in paperback and in e-book format through Amazon. He and his wife reside in Nashville and are parents to four children. His book is being made into a movie.
“This is my story, and you all have your own stories of what you have gone through,” said Ring. “I want you to know I love you, and if I can do it you can, too.”