Kelsey Koch – Inspirational Yogi


Born without a tibia in her left leg, doctors decided to amputate below the knee when Kelsey Koch was 9 months old to improve her mobility later in life.  Always an active child, the amputation eventually caused a curvature in her spine.  When she was 22, her trainer suggested practicing yoga to alleviate her scoliosis and back pain.

“Yoga makes you work both sides of your body. I’m so dominant on my right side, so I first started yoga to hopefully strengthen out my left side.” (Self magazine story)


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Brooke Artesi – Hiking Inspiration

Brooke-Artesi-Shawangunk-Ridge-TrailHiking has been a passion for Brooke Artesi for over 15 years – ever since her boyfriend (now husband ) Steve took her to the Bear Mountain portion of the Appalachian Trail.  She fell in love with the exhilaration of the hike and the welcoming shelters along the way.  In 2015, Brooke completed the 20 mile AT hike on the Shawangunk Trail  in less than 8 hours, fast walking all the way.  Her ultimate goal is to someday complete the entire trail – all 2,166 miles through 13 states!  In the meantime, she hikes as often as possible, being a mother of 2, wife, and owner/Chief Prosthetist & Orthotist of Sunshine Prosthetics and Orthotics in Wayne NJ.

Brooke has been a right leg below the knee amputee since the age of 15, due to a train accident. Hiking was a challenge which she soon mastered.  Having her first son, Nicco, didn’t stop her. While she was home with Nicco, she joined a group called Baby and Me Hike and carried him in a back carrier on every Tuesday hike.


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Adaptive Hiking – Inspired by Nature

HIKE-meetupOn March 25th,  Brooke Artesi, CPO/LPO and owner of Sunshine P&O, will lead an adaptive hike on the Beginner’s Loop of Pyramid Mountain in Montville NJ.   Hiking is a challenging and rewarding sport for everyone – yes, EVERYONE!  There are trails which are adaptive; they may have asphalt paths or boardwalks, low gradients, trained guides – check out these resources to find adaptive trails :,  and be sure to RSVP for the Sunshine Adaptive Hike!

Why hike?  It’s a glorious way to see the beauty of nature – lakes, rivers, wildlife, blooms and challenge yourself at the same time.  As Jerry Dunn, Head Basketball Coach, put it,

“Don’t limit your challenges, challenge your limits”

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Zach Tapec – determined parapalegic water sportsman

Zachary Tapec’s C6 spinal cord injury resulted from a diving accident in 1995.  Always physically active, his determination, strengths and love of water led him into one of sailing’s most grueling challenges last year R2AK – a 750 mile race to Ketchikan, Alaska from Port Townsend, Washington through some of the most treacherous and remote waters on the planet.  Zach joined a 3 man team, all parapalegics, in competition with able-bodied teams.  CNN Films and Great Big Films produced a 23 minute short film of this heroic effort. (

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Raymond Beesley – legacy of joy, love and hope

In Memory of Raymond Beesley

Raymond Beesley

Raymond Beesley (


The “real” Santa, Raymond Beesley, 65,  passed on December 2nd, 2016.  Since the ‘70’s, every winter Ray put on his signature red suit and travelled throughout New Jersey, spreading cheer.  Allison Howard Beesley wrote:

Ray Beesley’s generosity and love of children were legendary.  For decades, he was the ‘real’ Santa to thousands of children, soothing their fears and drawing them in with a soft voice and warm smile. He made doubters into believers.”  

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