CANTON - You may know him as Walter Junior on the smash hit AMC TV drama "Breaking Bad."
What you may not know is, like his character, actor R.J. Mitte has cerebral palsy and he travels the world now teaching tolerance.
His anti-bullying campaign brought him to Canton Wednesday as part of Kent State University at Stark’s Featured Speaker Series.
In "Breaking Bad," Walt Junior walks with leg braces.
Bullying, like art imitating life, found the 24-year-old Mitte.
"I had my hand broken. I had my foot broken. I was pushed, shoved, and bullied both verbally and physically. The thing is, I never allowed people to belittle me," said Mitte
Diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 3-years-old, Mitte tells Channel 3 News, “I never allowed my disability to be perceived as weakness."
Now Mitte beats down bullying, advocating internationally for equity and diversity.
His speech at Kent State University at Stark was titled, "Turning a disadvantage into an advantage".
"It's a decision,” says Mitte, “I'm going to do this. Setting that goal and achieving that goal."
19-year-old Elizabeth Brassell turned her cerebral palsy into See The Possible in May. She set a 2 year goal to walk at Wickliffe High School graduation, and did!
She got her diploma in a hard-fought, 1 minute walk across stage.
It was 50 feet of triumph.
WKYC Channel 3 News reporter Dawn Kendrick told Mitte of our Northeast Ohio inspiration personified dynamo, and he said, "Why stop there? Simple. Continue to push forward."
His advice is not surprising considering who raised him.
“That has been our whole philosophy through life. Work hard. Overcome it. Do your best," said Dyna Mitte, R.J.’s mother.
“This industry turned my disability into a strength for me already. Gave me a career. I wouldn't have my job if it wasn't for my disability. I’m not ashamed of it. It is what it is. It's what makes you, you," said R. J.
"I think God has opened doors for him. He has walked through those doors and we continue to pray that God keeps opening more doors and we just keep walking through them,” said Dyna Mitte.