Success Stories

The Travis Roy Foundation is dedicated to helping people succeed through the struggles of spinal cord injuries. Please take some time to view some of our most recent success stories below.

On September 24, 2015, Ben Damon was a passenger in his friend’s car as they began a one hour drive from Fryeburg to Portland, Maine. Not long after they started…

In July of 2014, Colin Christopher had nearly completed an intensive 8-year Clinical Psychology program at Pacific University. He had recently started the final stage of the program, a residency. While…

In May 2004, Patrick Brown headed home as usual after playing a late “gig” with his band. About a quarter of a mile from his house in Pensacola, Florida, Patrick…

In April 2015, Ben Farrar suffered a spinal cord injury during a trip to France with his high school. Ben was pulled down by an ocean wave while swimming, hitting…

There aren’t too many people who can say they’ve won a Paralympic World Cup gold medal from their wheelchair. But, Mike Tagliapietra is one of them. Six years after his…

In December 2014, Marina received a grant of $2,250 from the Travis Roy Foundation to modify her SUV so that she can operate a car again. With the installation of hand controls, Marina can easily steer, break, and accelerate.

Krystal Pierre was in a car accident four years ago that left her with an incomplete spinal cord injury. Being injured at her T5 vertebrae caused Krystal to become paralyzed from the breastbone down. Being disabled has brought many day-to-day struggles that test Krystal’s endurance, will, and mind set.

Dani was granted $2800 from the Foundation for power-assisted manual wheels to allow her independence in her chair. She is delighted not to have to rely on people to push her wheelchair 24/7. Ironically, Dani knew about Travis Roy because he talked at her high school. Six years later Dani recalled Travis’ inspiration and called upon his influential work to receive a grant. She is grateful!

The water was shallow and as Bryce felt the water against his skin he also felt his head hit the bottom of the lake. Bryce remarked about how he sensed the transformation of his body “I was paralyzed instantly when my head hit at the bottom of the lake. I felt a kind of electric sensation that pulsed through my body and then shorted out. I was paralyzed instantly.”

Bryce is adapting to his new lifestyle and through the funds donated from the Travis Roy Foundation he purchased a commode/shower chair. Bryce expressed his gratitude by stating “It’s working great. The chair makes it easy to get my morning regimen done, and it is a quality piece.”

Sterling Thomas has been waiting more than two years to take a shower independently. He was a freshman in college when he was injured in a football game in October,…

“I sometimes thank GOD while riding up on the elevator and thank Travis Roy on the way down.”

“We will never be able to thank Travis and everyone at the foundation enough for the incredible gift which has enabled me to access my home as I did before my injury.”

A college Junior, Jeromie was studying Mathematics and Economics at Lafayette College and had aspirations to work in finance after graduation. However, his life would be forever changed when he dove into the ocean waters, and on impact broke vertebrae causing instant paralysis and near drowning.

Massachusetts native, Joyce Celms, has spent most of her life helping others.  She holds a Masters Degree in Deaf Education from Boston University and spent her early twenties teaching and…

Katie was attending a local horse show in Jurupa, California. When she entered the arena, everything was fine, until she took a turn around the first pole. After the turn, Ryan, her horse took off in a running buck and she fell off, landing right on her shoulder blades. Paralysis was immediate.

Katie’s adaptive driving equipment, which was funded by the Travis Roy Foundation, has enabled Katie to live a more active lifestyle. She revels in the freedom of taking a drive whenever she wants. Being able to drive has removed another barrier, and will help enable her to live a more productive life.

Margaret Romph was injured in a car accident five years ago. Margaret sustained injuries at C-1&2, and C-6&7. She was just five years old. The Travis Roy Foundation helped the Romph family purchase equipment that has made a difference in caring for Margaret. A $3,000 grant covered the costs of an adjustable work table and accessories which monitors her pulse and oxygen; an ECU which lets her control her TV, lights, dvd player, etc.

“Having Margaret’s infectious smile with us everyday is a joyous reminder that she is with us”

“The generosity of those that make donations to the Travis Roy Foundation directly converts into improving the lives of spinal cord injury survivors.”

In the summer of 2002, Chaz Southard was like most new graduates. Having recently completed his degree in Environmental Affairs at the University of New Hampshire, he was looking for jobs in this field and enjoying his summer vacation to the fullest before entering the working world. That summer, the native New Englander was living on Plum Island, off the North shore of Massachusetts, enjoying the surf and sunny beaches.

“Mentally, it’s amazing,” Whitener said. “I hadn’t stood for 17 years. When I got up in the standing frame for the first time it was amazing.

At eighteen years old, Whitener fractured two vertebrae in her neck when she dove into her friends pool in 1993. She now embraces the opportunity to be able to stand while doing a number of things in her daily routine like reading or watching television. The Dayton, Ohio resident was the recipient of a grant of $3,400 for a standing frame.

Christopher O’Brien woke up on July 27, 2011 never knowing that his life was about to change.  He was in Block Island, RI on vacation relishing the fresh air and…

“Before I had my wheelchair lift, I could not go downstairs to make my candles, do my laundry and so on; I would have to have someone come in and help me. Being put in a wheelchair was one barrier in life. Not having full access around my house was another. I conquered the first one. The Travis Roy Foundation helped me conquer the other and I am so thankful.”

Everyday Brian Irish wakes up and goes to work in his basement: melting down wax, mixing in color and scented oil, placing wicks in position, and pouring it all into jars. Ask him what he dreamed of doing over 20 years ago and it would not have been making candles, but nonetheless he is proud. Everything is done by hand, by himself, from his wheelchair.

Ian Ralston, a 25 year old Army Combat Medic on his second tour in Afghanistan, was injured by an IED and left a quadriplegic in May, 2010. Ian was diagnosed with the notion of never eating, speaking, or breathing on his own again, but his never-give-up Army strong attitude would not accept it. He is now at a VA hospital eating three meals a day, speaking over his ventilator, and strengthening his diaphragm by taking some breaths on his own.

While his family is ecstatic and all geared up for his arrival, his house itself is not. Ian did not even have a ramp to allow him to enter his home. The Travis Roy Foundation awarded Ian an $11,000 grant to make his home modifications possible.

Kelley Goddu is not one to let an obstacle get in the way of her dreams.  Almost eight years after her spinal cord injury (SCI), she is working toward a…

During Christmas 1979, Brian Swift considered himself to be fortunate in many ways. A seventeen year old high school senior who had been blessed with a loving circle of family and friends, Brian…

Traci Bryan was injured in a car accident in 1997.  The driver of the car fell asleep and Traci was injured severely from the wreck.  With pneumonia and a.r.d.s. inhabiting…

“I am so grateful for the grant money provided by the Travis Roy Foundation…the lift has changed my life!”

On August 8th 2007 Mark Hall woke up thinking it was going to be just another average day. A change was set in motion as Mark slept in the back of his truck while his co-worker drove. Unfortunately, the co-worker dozed off causing the truck to veer off the freeway and slam into a three foot wall. The vehicle continued to move until it jumped over a 30 foot deep wash and flipped until its momentum was stopped by a tree. Mark was ejected from the truck.

“It is amazing that people take the time to give to a cause that really, truly changes someone’s life,” said Boone. “I do not make a great deal of money through my business, but it’s mine. I could not afford a new computer with my income and so the grant from the Travis Roy Foundation really did change my life.”

Marci Boone leads an inspiring and fulfilling life. A successful entrepreneur, Boone started her own business six years ago. She is happily married to her best friend and is often found catching up with friends, trying a new recipe, or watching the latest horror flick. And she does all these things from her wheelchair.

Tim received a $3,000 grant from the Travis Roy Foundation for a new manual wheelchair.

“The new wheelchair really makes it much easier for me to get around on a day-to-day basis; especially to and from my cycle path,” said Tim. “I am so glad and thankful for the Travis Roy Foundation and love what they do for us: they get the word out about our injuries and really do change lives.”

Although Alex has been through experiences that warrant defeat, he continues to push through the obstacles in his life. Sleepless nights were a frustration for Alex and his mom as she had to wake and turn him every two hours to prevent pressure sores. Thanks to the Travis Roy Foundation, this obstacle has been eliminated. The purchase of a specialized pressure-relieving mattress allows Alex and Kristy to sleep for six hours straight. Alex is comfortable, less disturbed, and sleeps soundly. Kristy is able to take better care of Alex because she is rested. She stated “The mattress saved both of our lives, literally! Thank you! Thank you! Thank You!”

At 30 years old, Bobby Hornback was working as a building contractor in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In September of 2005 his life changed forever when a fall from a tall building that he was working on left him with a C4-5 neck fracture.

After reaching out to the Travis Roy Foundation, Bobby received a grant to purchase an Aquila alternating pressure wheelchair cushion to help heal the pressure wounds he was suffering from.

“A simple thank you does not seem like enough to say but I do not know of another word to say. The generosity of your organization gave me more than just a wheelchair; you gave me part of my life back that I thought I had lost. I hope to be able to return the favor to someone else in a similar situation as I found myself.”

“Thank you very much and I hope that the Travis Roy Foundation will continue to provide to those of us that find themselves in need.”

“I have been able to maintain a positive attitude and face the challenges that are presented to me on a daily basis. I truly believe life is a gift, and even though I face it now in a wheelchair, I still have a full life ahead of me. I have decided to live without feeling sorry for myself. Actually, instead of dreading April 26 I celebrate it as my survival day.”

With the help of a grant provided by the Travis Roy Foundation, she was able to build a ramp on the front of her house. “I am so grateful for this opportunity. The phrase ‘There’s no place like home’ has never been so true until now.”

“I am grateful for any and all of the assistive equipment that I have been able to get. It has made a positive difference in my life. Helping to keep me as healthy as possible is one of the biggest things the equipment has done for me. I’m once again able to enter and exit my vehicle with much greater ease and once again drive wherever I need to go.”

Eric is elated to have the technological resources such as the internet where he read about the Travis Roy Foundation’s mission and the incredulous work it does with individuals with spinal cord injuries. Eric Williamson’s story illustrates the importance of obtaining equipment that enhances independence for individuals with disabilities.

Dan recently replaced his old wheelchair; however the new version no longer fit into his van. Faced with the prospect of losing his ability to drive, Dan applied for and received a $3,000 grant from the Travis Roy Foundation for van modifications to accommodate the new wheelchair. He was able to keep driving and donate his old chair to someone with MS that was in dire need of a wheelchair.

Anthony Tabor drove a truck for 26 years. It was something he did as natural as brushing his teeth. On September 10, 2012 he drove his truck as usual and…

  Kimberly Carpenter, 45, of New York had always been a beacon of light in her community . It was true before a tragic domestic violence incident rendered her a…

“The opportunity to go to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta probably made the biggest difference in my life.”

At 23, the Swanton, Vermont resident was starting a new phase of life. Having just received his commercial driver’s license, Pion started a job with Coca-Cola. His girlfriend had recently graduated from college and they were getting ready to start their lives together – looking to buy a house and becoming the proud parents of an adorable puppy, Eli.