Inspirations Update 2019

Throughout the years, we’ve brought you stories of inspiring people who have gone beyond disabilities and limitations to demonstrate the power of positive thinking.  Let’s catch up with some of them!

REGGIE SHOWERS –  (Nov. 2016 Inspiration)

Pro Stock Bike rider Reggie Showers

At the age of 14, due to a power line accident which surged 13,000 volts of electricity through his young body, doctors had to graft skin onto his third degree burned arms and cut off both his legs below the knee. To Reggie, this was just another challenge.   He became a world renown motorcycle racer, winning the  prestigious race; the Indianapolis U.S. Nationals in 2003.  He’s run marathons and trekked across Africa on a National Geographic expedition.

Unstoppable, Reggie has become a motivator and educator, travelling around the world.  His vision is to travel the world, meet people living with disabilities or challenges and share their stories.  “We can all learn from one another.”  In 2018 he spent over 220 hours flying on 87 different aircraft and flew enough miles to circle the world 4 times!

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April – Limb Loss Awareness, Education and Empowerment

During the month of April across the United States, amputee support groups, veterans, prosthetists, rehabilitation centers and those with limb loss will be participating in a number of activities in their local areas to raise awareness.

“Limb loss is not uncommon and is becoming less uncommon every day,”  says Susan Stout, Amputee Coalition president & CEO “Many people are unaware of the causes of amputation and often see limb loss in just a few categories: the wounded warrior or the accomplished athlete. The fact is, limb loss affects every generation, from young to old and people from all walks of life. More than 2 million Americans live with limb loss and that number grows by 185,000 each year. “

Many people with limb loss have become mentors and advocates to others, raising public awareness and educating on adaptability, prevention and making yourself heard.  This month we’d like to highlight just a few of these people.

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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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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!



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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