Welcome GRIT Freedom Chair Ambassadors!

We are very excited to announce the final 2019 GRIT Freedom Chair Ambassadors. Freedom Chair riders come in all shapes and sizes, from all different geographies and backgrounds, and have very unique goals and aspirations for the chair. We think each of our Ambassadors represent GRIT in their own way. Read on to learn about these 11 amazing individuals!

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Tanelle - British Columbia

“After sustaining a complete spinal cord injury in August 2014, I have been actively pursuing adaptive outdoor recreation opportunities. Skiing, biking, hiking, golfing, and surfing are all under my belt so far. This ambassadorship is important to help grow my charity and advocate for inclusion in the outdoors, as well as allowing me to easily navigate the rough terrain I love.”

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Donna - California

“I am currently living in Los Angeles, CA, as a competitive athlete. I am in training to beat a US women’s bench press record and hope to join the US Paralympic team.”

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Leslie - North Carolina

"I live in Asheville, NC, and love this community! I attended UNC Asheville to be closer to the mountains. I loved to bike, run and go hiking in the Western North Carolina mountains. However, during my freshman year of college, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis…I am ecstatic to be a GRIT Freedom Chair Ambassador! I know the Freedom Chair will present many new opportunities. Although I have difficulty with balance and mobility, the GRIT Freedom Chair will help me conquer these disabilities. I will be able to explore the trails and wilderness of Western North Carolina, again!"

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James - Massachusetts

“My name is James Norris and I’m 33 years old and and I have cerebral palsy. Over the past four years, I’ve lost 65 pounds after adopting a fitness lifestyle. I live to inspire others and show them that anything is possible. Being an ambassador will be an awesome tool to continue this mission. I look forward to showing others how awesome the Freedom Chair is and the independence it provides.”

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Mark - Michigan

“My name is Mark and I have a T8/9 spinal cord injury. I am an engineer, motorcycle racer, musician, and outdoor enthusiast. I can't wait to discover what adventures await me with the GRIT Freedom Chair!”

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Ty - Ohio

“I am a very active C-5 quadriplegic. I enjoy every aspect of the outdoors, from hunting to hiking, I do it all. I believe it is important to maintain an active lifestyle regardless of your disability because it promotes not only physical wellness but mental wellness, too. I’ve never let my injury define who I am. With the help of the GRIT chair, my wife, Cortney, and my service dog, Minnie, there’s a lot of adventures I’ll now be able to tackle!”

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Lisa - Utah

“I like words and nature—I spend a lot of time exploring the outdoors and writing about the things I discover there. I am an advocate for all things community and connection—between humans and with our beautiful planetary home…I appreciate mobility devices that transform obstacles into the vehicle for speed and joy and adrenaline! I want to take my dog for longer walks, and during the snowy, winter months. I want to go on easy hikes with my friends and my husband to explore all the hidden wonders of Utah, such as hot springs and waterfalls. I want to be able to move across muddy, cumbersome distances to find the perfect fly-fishing spot along the river. I enjoy using my muscles and working for it, when it there are mobility devices involved that make it worth it!”

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Beka - Washington

“Hi! I'm Beka, and I live in the Seattle area with my brilliant husband and three incredible kids (10, 7, and 4). In 2009, doctors found a tumor on my spinal cord and I've been sitting in this wheelchair ever since—but it certainly doesn't hold me back! In my free time, I love to be active with my family. We spend a lot of time on the rocky beaches at the Hood Canal, and we like to travel and go for hikes (can you call it that if you're in a wheelchair?!). I'm so excited to use the GRIT Freedom Chair because it's going to allow me to be more independent when I'm out exploring the world!”

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Lilly - Texas

"At such a young age I was given this opportunity to prove that you don’t need legs to be awesome and do things that people will tell you are impossible. Swimming, snowboarding, surfing, running, cycling, basketball, gymnastics, you name it! Anything that I set my mind to, I will at least give it my best shot. That being said, you cannot go through your life without facing obstacles that are much more difficult to overcome. Sand, snow, uneven ground, and dirt bring a challenge to us legless people that is extremely difficult to overcome. Using prosthetics, I am able to walk, run, and play to my heart’s desire, however, different surfaces and textures of the ground make it harder to balance and walk properly….A chair that is equipped to go into different terrains would provide me with the opportunity to join people at the beach, on hikes, sandboxes, and other surfaces with the knowledge that I can be more independent and less worried about the safety of myself and the equipment that I am using.”

 
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Carly - Tennessee

“I am an outdoor enthusiast enjoying cycling, swimming, rock climbing, snow skiing, and all things nature. My goals are to be able to share my love of the outdoors with my two children and be able take them hiking. I am also extremely excited for the opportunity to navigate a portion of the Camino De Santiago trail in Spain, later this fall!”

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Mason - Utah

“I was born with severe bilateral clubfoot, and after a lifetime of surgeries and pain, I decided that having my legs amputated below the knee was going to provide a much better quality of life. Since that time I have not only become more active but I have competed on an international level against some amazing athletes. This led me to the GRIT Freedom Wheelchair. Aside from competing, I can now do "fun runs" with my family, or go trail hiking and enjoy the outdoors.”