Pushing your chair long distance isn’t a new idea. Rick Hansen, the famous Canadian paraplegic and founder of the Hansen Foundation, is one of the all-time wheelers to push his chair an incredibly long distance.
In 1985, he pushed himself more than 40,000 kilometers through 34 countries (it took 26 months); all in the name of spinal cord injury research (you can bet he was tired after that). And now, two other wheelers in 2013 are aiming to do the same thing here in the United States. Ryan Chalmers, a 23 year old with spinal bifida, is planning to start his trek on April 6th and Suheil Aghabi, a 42 year old paraplegic, just began his on April 1st. Both are aiming to cross the USA all by their own push-power.
Let’s start with Suheil, who’s from Burbank, California. He was paralyzed almost 20 years ago while studying at NYU and he’s recognizing his 20th anniversary of being paralyzed by rolling across the country this Spring. He has a web site – Roll with Me – where you can keep track of his trek. He started on April 1st and expects to complete the trip in 73 days. His goal is to average about 50 miles a day (not easy when you have arthritis in your arms).
And the purpose of his trip? It’s two fold – he wants to give kids with disabilities a sense of hope, to show they can accomplish anything they want, and to show how the power of the mind can help you do anything, especially overcome addiction issues. His starting point was in Santa Monica California, and his endpoint is Jones Beach in West Hempstead, New York. A documentary will also be made about his push. Watch a promo
The second person pushing themselves across the country this year is Ryan Chalmers, a 23 year old from Chruchville, NY. He is a three time Paralympian (in basketball and track) who’s been itching to begin his “Push Across America” since the 2012 London Paralympics. And his trek is set to begin April 6 and ending on NYC on June 15. He too is aiming for about 70 days and during his journey, he’ll be passing their 14 states, including the District of Columbia (with a 5-person crew there to help).
And for Ryan, his 3,500 mile journey is also to prove to kids with disabilities that they can do anything that they set their minds to. You gotta love this. Kids will certainly be inspired by both Ryan and Suheil. And Ryan is aiming to push about 60 miles a day, which is a lot for him (rhe most he never pushed his 34 miles a day). Here’s hoping he can make it (I’m sure he will. He’s 23 he should imho).
Now let’s hope the mainstream media covers both of their finales once they reach the East coast. All their hard work deserves some big time attention.
Would you push across the country?