In the News
"Whether it's skydiving, water skiing, or boxing, Alex Elegudin and Yannick Benjamin help New Yorkers with disabilities put their lives back in motion. "
"It’s May again — which, for New York’s wine community, means only one thing: Wine on Wheels.
Now in its fourth year, the event will return this Saturday, May 2, to its home at City Winery. It’s a see-and-be-seen event — one that Eric Hastings, wine director at Jean-Georges, “look[s] forward to every year.”"
"In October 2003, I sustained a C5C6 spinal cord injury stemming from a car accident caused by deer running onto the roadway. It occurred while some friends and I were on our way from New York back to Pittsburgh where I was a student at Carnegie Mellon University. After the accident, all my future education and career plans had to be put on hold, as I had to figure out how I was going to live as a quadriplegic."
"Wheeling Forward has teamed up with Wheels of Progress to create the Axis Project, an incredible initiative that promotes healthy living and community in Manhattan. I was shown around their gym space, and their physical therapist gave me a run down of the ways they adapt exercises to meet the needs of their clients. They are attentive to the needs and abilities of each person, meaning that there is something for everyone and every age. I got to chat with some of the clients and see their exercises and hear about their experiences having somewhere to go to get out and get active. Shout out to Antoinette from Doors Wide Open who paused her workout to tell me about her work to promote and share accessibility of restaurants in NYC."
"On October 27, 2003, Benjamin had a car accident on the West Side Highway that left him a T-6 paraplegic for life. He wasn't drinking, he didn't break any laws, nobody else was injured. Benjamin instantly knew something was wrong: "I felt a pulling in my body, the way a magnet is drawn to a refrigerator." That night was the first of many in a decade long journey to mend his body and spirit, and return to the career he almost left."
"In Bronx, NYC, an awesome non-profit was founded 2 years ago, Wheeling Forward, and it’s all about bringing real world help to people with spinal cord injuries. Wheelchair donations, legal help, urban outings, scholarships; they give what’s really needed."
"Much has been said about the power of adversity (often by people who have suffered very little), but if it is true that the character of a man can be seen more clearly through a prism of hardship, then Yannick Benjamin's is impressive indeed."
"Before a car accident left him paralyzed from the waist down, Yannick Benjamin worked in restaurants and studied the art of wine.
After the crash, on the West Side Highway in October 2003, Benjamin not only continued working to become a master sommelier, but added more aspirations to his to-do list: Earn a college degree and compete in the New York City Marathon."
"After I incurred my spinal cord injury six years ago when I was 19, I thought I’d never be the same person again. I was correct in thinking that, but for totally different reasons than I imagined at that time. In October 2003, I sustained a C5-C6 spinal cord injury stemming from a car accident caused by deer running onto the roadway. It occurred while some friends and I were on our way from New York back to Pittsburgh where I was a student at Carnegie Mellon University. After the accident, all my future education and career plans would have to be put on hold, as I had figure out how I was going to live as a quadriplegic."
"It feels just like yesterday when my mother came up to me one afternoon and told me that my cousin, Guy, in France was paralyzed. My first reaction, “Thank goodness he is still alive!” But the second thing that I said was, “How hard could it be to be in a wheelchair?” Well, I can tell you right now, I was never more wrong about something I said! Ironically, I was in car accident a few months later that left me paralyzed at the same level as my cousin. We are both T6 complete. I have been sitting on this Ti-Lite ZRA wheelchair for close to six years now, but there are lots of days when I am sitting somewhere else for instance, on an airplane seat visiting some of the world’s top vineyards."
"Around 3 a.m. on Oct. 30 last year, Alex Elegudin, 20, stopped for gas on the Pennsylvania Turnpike about 30 miles outside of Pittsburgh in his 1999 Acura after driving for 6-1/2 hours on the seven-hour, 400-mile trip from Manhattan Beach. Elegudin was driving back to Carnegie Mellon University, where he was a sophomore majoring in biomedical engineering, after a midsemester break."