Determined to enjoy life

This past week my father (who loves surfing) visited me and told me an inspiring story about a competitive surfer, Jesse Billauer, who became a quadraplegic after his head slammed into a sandbar during a surfing competition. He cannot move his legs and his arms have only limited capacity for motion. This surfer was not about to give up surfing though. He went back to the waves in the best way he could, lying on board on his front side and pushing himself up. And that must have been an incredibly life-affirming experience, but he did not stop there. He started the Life Rolls On Foundation, a subsidiary of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, and made it possible for many people with spinal cord injuries to try surfing or get back on the board. You can watch the documentary trailer of Jesse’s life here:


And for footage of the Life Rolls On surfing events, watch:

Bethany Hamilton is another surfer who was determined to continue surfing after losing her left arm in a shark attack. She got back on her surfboard and became a professional surfer. Bethany volunteers with several non-profit organizations, including World Vision, which seeks to children with disabilities throughout the world have access to educational opportunities. You can watch a short video about her story here:

Jesse and Bethany exemplify the process of building self-determination. They are living life on their own terms and doing what they love, despite the obstacles they have faced due to their physical limitations.

“[Bethany] doesn’t care that she’s only got one arm, she’s out there having the time of her life.”

– friend of Bethany Hamilton

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