I was able to use this high tech therapeutic bike for training at the hospital I trained at in Minnesota. They had several of them. It was great for strengthening my arms, legs, and for cardio. I really wanted to train on a bike once I transferred from Minnesota back to my home in Iowa. To my disappointment, I found that there was only one of these bikes available in Iowa. Hours away from where I lived.

I thought, “What? How?” These bikes are important to anyone who has any kind of physical disability. Shouldn’t they be more available? Well it is a $28,000 bike… Fortunately, I ended up getting one of my own. Something I use all of the time to this day. It is pretty expensive huh? Yeah. Did I pay for that? No. Did family or friends? No. Did my primary medical insurance pay for it? No… The NCAA paid for it because I was injured in a NCAA sanctioned sporting event which they now provide me with secondary health insurance.

I thought I had it bad but other people with injuries were going through worse. There was a major shortage of quality therapy opportunities. Most insurance companies won’t pay for these bikes. They hardly pay for people’s physical therapy. In addition, suffering a spinal cord injury has some MAJOR costs. I reflected about how people have given me an unbelievable amount of hope, love, and support through this entire journey and to top it all off I had this great insurance coverage from the NCAA. No one else with a spinal cord injury was getting that kind of support.

I thought…” How can I give back?” Individuals with disabilities needed more and better access to therapy. Therefore, with this problem in mind, my family and I formed the SCI CAN Foundation.

We have raised $500,000 from 2012-2016 and have given out over 30 grants that have been making a major impact in the quality of life for those with disabilities. Forming the foundation has been the proudest thing I have done in my life. I consider it to be my greatest accomplishment. Having the opportunity to give back and transform lives is an amazing thing. I had no idea that the foundation would be such a rewarding opportunity.

I thought…” How can I give back?” Therefore, with this problem in mind, my family and I formed the SCI CAN Foundation.

However, you don’t need to start a foundation or give money to make a difference. You can give someone hope, encouragement, and your time. For example, volunteer at a food shelter or for a local nonprofit. Anything makes a difference.

Life will reward you in so many ways if you make your life about giving. What goes around comes around. When you treat people with respect and go out of your way to help others, people take notice. It’s a great feeling to help someone else who really needs it. But don’t do it for yourself or attention. Do it because it’s the right thing to do.

TAKE ACTION: Give back today. Write a letter or send a text of encouragement to someone about work, life, relationships, health, school, or sports. Do a random act of kindness. Figure out how you can give back more.

We have now addressed Believe, Dream, Focus, Respond, Gratitude and Give. Next week we talk about PERSEVERANCE and why sitting in a wheelchair is so difficult.