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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Stacey Kozel — on the Appalachian Trail with Determination and Hi Technology

stacey-kozel-hiking-sqNow 41, Stacey Kozel was diagnosed with lupus when she was 19 years old. Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body. The symptoms for Stacey, as for some other Lupus patients, has been cyclical, every couple of years she would have a “flare-up”.

The disease directly attacked her central nervous system during each flare-up, causing her to lose muscle function. In March 2014 she lost all mobility, couldn’t sit up or lift her head. With determination, she slowly recovered control of both arms and her upper body, but  her legs were paralyzed. Her mobility depended upon her electric wheelchair.

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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!



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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