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Recently, our freind at the Interact Club and the students at Rolling Hills Prep in San Pedro, California presented Ryan with his adaptive hand cycle. Ryan was paralyzed in a boating accident when he was 19 but it has always been a dream of his to complete a triathlon. Through a school-wide fitness challenge led by our Interact Club and the help of the IM ABLE Foundation,

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They were able to fundraise enough money to purchase a hand cycle for Ryan. Now, he is able to achieve his dream. A big thanks to the students of Interact and Kathy Hagee, club advisor, for spearheading this wonderful effort on our campus!

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T3 member Patrick Sweeney is a spokesperson for The IM ABLE Foundation which was created to build and support active lifestyles for individuals with disabilities.

When Pat was 18 years old, he was diagnosed with Rasmussen’s Syndrome, a rare disease that attacks the right hemisphere of his brain. In 2006, Patrick had a hemispherectomy, which stopped the progression of his disease but also left him with limited use of his left arm and leg.

Pat is riding his recumbent bike to stay active, and to inspire others. He said, “Perseverance to me is overcoming obstacles to achieve my desired outcome and learning from my setbacks so that they allow me to improve.”

His training included four months with 20 mile sprint rides on the weekends, light gym program at home as well as at Paoli Fitness 3 times a week in their adaptive fitness program

So far this season, Pat completed the bike portion of two sprint triathlons: Got The Nerve and Hammonton. He said, “When I crossed the finish line, it was great seeing my family and teammates and feeling accomplished.”

He shared with us, “For the year ahead I would like to continue to race as much as I can and improve along the way. I do have a desire to compete in the other events someday. Currently in the pool swimming one time per week and in PT working on mobility to be able to run again.”

Never Say No, the Story of Patrick Sweeney
Never Say No, the Story of Patrick Sweeney.
Pure determination and perseverance and never giving up
 

IM ABLE recently hosted a “Get Up and Climb” day at Spooky Nook Sports, in Lancaster, PA. Partnering with ABOVE LIMITS, IM ABLE was able to transform the Nooks famed climbing wall into an adaptive wall so that individuals with a broad range of disabilities could come out and climb. This was such an exciting day for the IM ABLE Foundation, ABOVE LIMITS and Spooky Nook, as it was our first big collaborative event and the first time the Nook was able to host an adaptive event!

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Over 30 individuals came out to try their hand in adaptive climbing. Groups from local organization such as Vision Core, Lebanon VA, and E.A.R.S brought individuals out. Everyone from those with vision and hearing impairments, to amputees to Para-Olympic equestrian athletes, to those with developmental disabilities came out to try climbing. Talk about an exciting event to be a part of!

For many it was their first time ever trying something like this. One individual, Patrick explained, “I never thought I could do something like this. Me? Climb a rock wall? It was such a liberating experience”. Groups of lookers watched intensely as individuals climbed for the first time, cheering on everyone was they made their way up the wall.

The atmosphere at the Nook was incredible; everyone really enjoyed the day. It was such an inspiring event to see individuals, who one second were in a chair and the next they were climbing up a 45-foot rock wall!

IM ABLE cannot begin to thank both ABOVE LIMITS and Spooky Nook enough! Their support, willingness and excitement were truly undeniable and made for such an incredible atmosphere to be apart of. Over all, this event was a grand success. We look forward to hosting many more adaptive events at Spooky Nook Sports. Keep an eye on our website for information about upcoming adaptive events!!

Click here! for more images from the event.

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The IM ABLE Foundation hosted a Sled Hockey Demo Day at the Reading Royals’ Santander Arena on Saturday, December 27th. The goal of this event was to invite individuals with disabilities who had never had the opportunity to try out Sled Hockey, the chance to test out this exciting sport.

With the help of the Palmyra Black Knights Youth Sled Hockey team, lead by Sal Montagna, IM ABLE was able to get 15 individuals into sleds! The Black Knights brought out 10 extra pieces of different sized equipment so that all individuals could give sled hockey a try. They also brought out 30 of their own adaptive players to demonstrate how a sled hockey game works and show all those, who were testing out the ice for the first time, how to skate!

This event was a huge success and one of the first times individuals in the Reading area had a chance to see and try out sled hockey. We had over 60 spectators at the event just taking it all in!

Tom Matroni, one of IM ABLE’s athletes, had not been on the ice since 1986. Over 28 years ago, Tom was in a freak motorcycle accident that left him in a chair. Before the accident he was an avid ice hockey player and spent most of his free time in the winter developing his skills on the ice. Because of the work of IM ABLE, Tom was able to get on the ice for the first time in 28 years!

“Being back on the ice was an awesome feeling, it was great to be out of my chair and to be able to skate around and see others enjoy a sport that means so much to me,” Tom said. Tom went on to mention, “Even their coach was on the ice and giving me some pointers! What a fun experience to have everyone out on the ice together!”

Tom, who is already enrolled in the IM ABLE adaptive fitness program at Spooky Nook Sports in Lancaster, is looking forward to pursuing sled hockey on a greater scale. We look forward to seeing him back on the ice soon!

Thanks to the partnership between IM ABLE, the Reading Royals and the Palmyra Black Knights, we look forward to hosting more of these exciting events and getting more individuals up and moving!

Click here!  For more images of this event.

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Reading Eagle

It was a day like any other: Sept. 8, 2010.

Russell Selkirk was on his way to work in Exton, Chester County, when a red light stopped him near Worcester, Montgomery County, changing life as he knew it for the electronics repair technician from Lansdale.It was there at that intersection that a pickup truck rear-ended Selkirk’s car, breaking the driver’s seat and snapping Selkirk’s vertebrae, paralyzing him from the hips down.Now, more than four years later, Selkirk, 42, will compete today in his second Philadelphia Marathon with a racing hand cycle granted to him through the Wyomissing-based IM ABLE Foundation. – See more at:

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Fox 43

This bike ride is more than just an outdoor activity. For Patrick Sweeney, it’s freedom.

“Makes you feel like you’re whole again. Makes you feel like you’re back at it. Like you’re a normal person. You don’t have limitations, the sky’s the limit.”

Sweeney is one of 20 cyclists who particiated in “Get Up and Ride Day!” in Lancaster County Sunday afternoon.

All of them are physically challenged. But thanks to the IM ABLE Foundation, they now have access to adaptive bikes. The bikes are designed based on a person’s abilities. This one for example is a hand cycle. It allows someone who’s lost ability in their legs to ride using the hand cranks.

A former U.S. Marine and Founder of IM ABLE, Chris Kaag knows first hand what it’s like. “You wouldn’t believe what I would give to have your legs and to be able to get out there and do the things that you have the ability to do. I was 21-years-old, I was a marine and I thought I had the world figured out.”

Until he discovered he had a degenerative nerve condition. Once an avid mountain biker, he now uses a wheelchair to get around. “If I didn’t have this happen to me I don’t think I would appreciate all the great things that I have now,” Kaag added.

That appreciation is now being felt by others. For Thomas Matroni, it was about bonding with his family. “A lot of the time you can’t do some of the same stuff that they would do but for anyone else just to come out here and show them that it doesn’t matter what you may think your disability is, you can do anything you put your mind to,” said Matroni.

Hearing those words Kaag says, makes it all the more rewarding. “When we show them that there’s a possibility for them to get out there and do something, it’s pretty awesome.”

IM ABLE plans to expand services in Lancaster County. It needs $40,000 dollars to create a base of operations near Spooky Nook Sports in East Hempfield Township. If you’d like to volunteer or donate, click on the following link: http://imablefoundation.org/

 

http://fox43.com/2014/11/09/riding-through-challenges-in-lancaster-county/

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