Surf Day!

On July 8th, a hot 90-degree summer day, 70 of our members and hundreds of volunteers got together to have some fun in the sun. Wheeling Forward partnered up with Jesse Billaur and Life Rolls On, to give our participants the chance to leave their wheelchairs at shore and become one with the coasting waves of the Atlantic ocean. Life Rolls On is an organization that believes, whether you were born with a form of paralysis or were injured recently; whether you see yourself as an athlete or the opposite; whether you’re young or not so young, life is about dreaming big and going beyond your limitations even if that means figuring out a new way to surf. Jesse created Life Rolls On because he believes that everyone living with paralysis deserves to feel the exhilarating freedom that surfing brings to me. As I asked one of our members, Andrea, what surfing felt like, as someone living with paralysis, she quoted “Escaping the bounds of land and experiencing the rush of open water is hard to explain. It’s a thrill that can only be truly felt when coming together with organizations such as wheeling forward and life rolls on. All of the volunteers captured and delivered the truest freedom to those who would normally not get to a beach, let alone be out in the open water. The water is my home away from land, and for a brevity of moment, I am free from my injury and I just surfed.” As people living with paralysis, we live with the reality of not having the ability to walk as we navigate around tons of societal barriers. But, being granted the opportunity to surf and become totally immersed in the water allows us to embrace a freedom that is entirely boundless. Volunteer Jessica said, “Volunteering for Life Rolls On has changed my life. It’s ironic…we volunteer to help change the lives of people with disabilities. But the life most transformed might be your own.” An event like Surf day emulates the energy that we at Wheeling Forward try to emulate every day – life after injury does not stop, it may be different but it can still be equally fulfilling. Thank you, Life Rolls On, for giving our members the freeing experience of the sand between their toes as they surfed the day away!