Dear Family and Friends,
Last year I used a metaphor about getting hit in quad rugby and getting back up and into the game of life. Be careful what you wish for….as you can see by the attached article, at our tournament this year I tried to defy gravity and use only one wheel to try and score. That didn’t quite work out as I planned! Even the paralyzed don’t back down, especially with each other. We want and expect no special treatment. Well, maybe an accessible hotel room every now and then ;).
With the love and support of my family, siblings and dear friends, I get up every day to live the life that I have been blessed with. My faith is absolute and my will and determination has never been stronger. I don’t hesitate when I’m given opportunities to speak about the challenges I face because I know it might help one more person get back in the game.
After last year’s CTTS, I went back to Lourdes, France with the Order of Malta. Not as a malade but as a working volunteer to be a part of a pod of six members assigned to care for a malade. My good friends at the Order of Malta honored and humbled me in ways they cannot imagine. This was the first time and organization has asked me to do the role of an able bodied person. The experience was as profound as my first. I was assigned to work with some of the malade children that were on the pilgrimage. Kids are so perceptive. They watch and listen to everything. Another member mentioned to me that he overheard the kids talking about how they would like to come back to Lourdes and volunteer. One questioned if they would be allowed since they were malades. Another replied, look at Brian, if he can volunteer so can we. Thus, my true purpose of my trip came to life by being myself and setting the example.
This fall I was the featured guest at the annual banquet for the NC Spinal Cord Injury Association. They followed me for a day and made a video for you viewing pleasure. Funny how when a camera is on me I can suddenly water ski like a pro! There may be a few “V’s” for Villanova slipped in!!
Back to the business at hand! Adaptive Sports & Adventure Programs (ASAP) has been a significant part of my recovery. From Rugby to Handcycling to Water Skiing to Snow Skiing to whatever is next, the benefits of participating in adaptive sports with my peers cannot be measured. It has been the salvation of my mind and body. These experiences become a turning point in a person’s life. Where confidence is bred and self-esteem soars. There are so many that need our help.
I am handcycling in my 8th Cycle to the Sea with my fellow disabled athletes from Charlotte to North Myrtle Beach – 180 miles over three days. Some paralyzed some without limbs, some blind and some with multiple disabilities – ALL with hope, determination, desire and faith to accomplish this extraordinary feat! Dan Wilson (who rides with me each year and has a short memory;)) will cycle with me to share this experience and support my cause. Of course Kevin Scanlon and Tom Baskind will be supporting us financially and in spirit. They exemplify the spirit of Team Freak – selfless acts of beauty to help others in their journey! I believe this experience has deeply impacted their perception of life and human spirit!
We need your help to expand these vital programs and help others not as fortunate as I am. We can make a difference! Join me as I aspire to be the difference! Please consider supporting this meaningful cause. Many of you have already contributed and I thank you! However, there is so much more we can do! Funding these programs is a daily ongoing struggle with budget cuts and limited resources. 100% of your donation will go to the Adaptive Sports and Adventures Program (ASAP).
Please ask your employer if they will match your gift - matching gifts are an easy way to double the support for ASAP. Most companies will match but you will need to initiate the process with your Human Resources Department and submit your company's completed matching gift form to ASAP.
If you prefer, you can also send your tax-deductible contribution to Atrium Health Foundation, which is a nonprofit 501c3 organization that administers the ASAP Fund. Checks may be made payable to "Atrium Health Foundation" with ASAP/Muscarella in the memo line. Please send checks to:
Kathleen G. LeFever
Director, Strategic Relations and Communications
Atrium Health Foundation
208 East Boulevard
Charlotte, NC 28203
Thank you for believing in me and making a difference by helping others.
Never Give Up
There is no Choice!
There is always hope!
Bring it Everyday!
NCSCIA video: https://youtu.be/zeEZ_DgIHAQ
Father Bill Atkinson Humanitarian Award:
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