paralympics

Dick Traum – Achilles International Founder and Inspiration

In 1965, Dick Traum, 24, was filling his gas tank at a gas station when the car behind him jumped forward and crushed him between the 2 cars.  As a result of his injuries, his right leg had to be amputated.  In 1976,  Dick found himself out of shape and approaching middle age.  He decided to do something about it – he joined a YMCA and began running, small distances at first and building up to miles.  By the end of the year, he became the first amputee to successfully complete the New York City Marathon.

The experience brought a strong sense of achievement and self-esteem. In 1983,  Dick created the Achilles Track Club, now called Achilles International, to give that same life-changing experience to others with disabilities.

“Somehow, I wasn’t upset. When you lose a leg, there’s no ambiguity. You get an artificial leg and keep going.” (IMDb Mini Biography By: woodyanders)

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CAF Grant Program – Inspiring Athletes

Jim MacLaren

 

In 1985 Jim MacLaren, a standout football and lacrosse athlete at Yale, was hit by a bus while riding his motorcycle and his left leg below the knee had to be amputated.  Fueled by his competitive and athletic spirit, he recovered and went on to finish the Ironman Hawaii in 10 hours, 42 minutes.  Then, in 1993, during the Orange County Triathlon, he was struck by a van while on his bike, hit a signpost, and became a quadriplegic.  He went on to become a motivational speaker

Bob Babbitt, founder of Competitor Magazine, dedicated to triathlons, cycling and running and himself an Ironman competitor, met MacLaren during the Hawaii Ironman.  It was his first encounter with an athlete running on a prosthetic leg.  He was awestruck at the determination and perseverance of disabled athletes.  After MacLaren’s second accident, when he was bound to a wheelchair, Babbitt and some fellow athletics enthusiasts raised funds to purchase a van which MacLaren could drive with his hands.  They raised more than they needed and Babbitt and MacLaren founded the Challenged Athletes Foundation® to support other disabled athletes in their efforts to remain active.

Bob Babbitt

Babbitt’s belief is to stick with our big ideas, especially when they might seem impossible, and to seek out the experiences that will make an impact on your life and in your community.

The Challenged Athletes Foundation® provides universal access to physical activity and sport through global grant distributions, camps, clinics, mentoring and motivation. 

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Jack Wallace – Athlete, Student, Inspiration

In July 2008  10 year old Jack Wallace  was involved in a boating accident while on vacation with his family on Lake George, NY.  His injuries resulted in his right leg being amputated above the knee.

The following summer, Jack went to Camp No Limits with his family for the first time.  He was inspired by the other children to work hard and realized that his limb loss was not a limitation. Camp No Limits helped Jack to stop focusing on his limitations and instead focus on all the possibilities that were available to him.

Jack Wallace with Brooke Artesi - Team Sunshine at Lincoln Park Triathlon 2013

Jack Wallace with Brooke Artesi – Team Sunshine at Lincoln Park Triathlon 2013

“By spending time with all of the other campers who had overcome their disabilities, I stopped noticing their disabilities and mine as well,”

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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. (https://youtu.be/Cu3MsLc8kxo)

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More Paralympian Spirits to watch in Rio 2016

Meet 3 more of our amazing, inspiring Paralympians – all heading to the Rio 2016 Paralympics!

 

JOE BERENYI  –  PARACYCLING

ParaCyclist Joseph Berenyi

Paracyclist Joseph Berenyi

Joe Berenyi is a 47 year old track and road cyclist.  He won gold, silver and bronze medals plus set a world record at the 2012 Paralympic Games held in London after only 3 years of national cycling experience.

In 1994 Joe lost his right arm and left kneecap in a construction accident and decided to put his bike away after several years of successful amateur cycling races.  In 2007 he decided to join some of is neighbors for a ride and his love of cycling was reignited.

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