ANCHORAGE, Alaska (September 18, 2013) - Nearly three years, on a seemingly innocuous pile of chilly, white snow in upstate Minnesota Paul Thacker's life came crashing down, changing forever in an instant.
Or did it?
While the first rider to ever fly a snowmobile more than 300 feet through the air was injured badly - and he knew it - the ubiquitous thoughts of Will I ever walk again? and Will I ever ride my sled again? came and went as quickly as the door shut on the ambulance. And it was at that point - well before the countless hours of grueling rehab that he's endured - that Thacker convinced himself while yes, things would be different, it was now his mission to help so many other action sports athletes like himself that have suffered a serious spinal injury.
So like Morgan Freeman in the Shawshank Redemption, Thacker's mind was made up on the "Get busy living part" - and now he's moving forward to help others who face similar struggles to face their fears and learn to get back out and enjoy the incredibly fun recreation side of the powersports industry again through the Paul Thacker Spinal Cord Recovery Foundation. (http://pt11.com)
"I've got a unique opportunity to give back to the industry that's given me so much," said Thacker. "So my plan is to rally the troops and, with some help from the powersports industry, work to get people that share both my situation - and passion for powersports - back on a snowmobile, ATV, motorcycle and UTV. However that's not the sole function of the PT11 Foundation. The plan is also to raise funds as well as awareness for research, treatments and all around help to spinal cord injured athletes. "You don't realize the costs associated with something like this until it happens. From new research and developments to much needed items the costs are astronomical"
"I can relate, through personal experience, how setting a goal to get back on a snowmobile was what got me through the long, tough and, in reality, never-ending rehab trail," said Thacker. "The thoughts of riding kept me going, to the point where I was able to get back onto a sled again. Then the feeling of riding again for the first time since my accident, reaching my goal, is what continues to sustain me through my rehab efforts today.
"Any athlete who's been through any sort of rehab on an injury knows the feeling. But rather than working to throw a ball or swing a bat, my Back on Board program will work with the powersports industry to put riders back in control of a throttle. It's going to be excellent."
With companies like Monster Energy and its Give Back Program, Polaris and a new line of PT11 Foundation/Slednecks gear available at slednecks.com http://shop.slednecks.com/PT11-Collection/products/51/we are looking to get this party started and start raising dollars. Its as simple as going to http://pt11.com and donating a single $1 or $5 or $100 or whatever change you find in your couch. A PayPal account is set up on the website and its as easy as a few clicks. Every dollar raised will go towards helping spinal cord injured athletes in some way shape or form. Make sure to check back frequently as we get this up and running for upcoming fund raisers, events, as well as auctions that will be happening in the near future. With your help as well as the industry we can give back to a community of fallen athletes and help them get back doing what they love.
Ideas? Hit up Thacker! He'd love to hear from you - firstname.lastname@example.org