Dear IM ABLE, I am writing this letter for my son Kevin Jr. He has had a rough time but has come out with good thoughts and purpose. My son Kevin is the oldest of 9 children. 3 birth and 6 adopted.
He has always cared for others and helped with whatever needed to be done. When he got his surgery to remove his leg, I don’t know what he expected. It has been a long journey, and I must say he has had a positive outlook for most of it. Since he has been involved with sports, he has had a much brighter outlook on life. He shares pictures of his sporting events and tells me all about them. I know that having the opportunity to play hockey will be a help and encouragement to Kevin. Whatever you can do to help him will be a great encouragement and blessing to him and his wife, Jen. Thank you for having an organization that helps people like my son Kevin to have an opportunity to play hockey and enrich his life.
My name is Kevin. I was born on April 15, 1984 in Wisconsin. As a child, I was involved in several different sports. I loved to play basketball, bicycle, run, and especially loved playing roller hockey. My parents adopted several children who had special needs, and I became acquainted with obstacles that people face, and how they learned to adapt and to thrive! Upon graduation, I spent several years in construction, and as an over-the-road truck driver. In March of 2020, I moved to Pennsylvania, and continued working as a truck driver.
Not long after this time, I was diagnosed with kidney disease. I began having pain and swelling in my right leg. On January 3rd, 2021, I went to the hospital and found out that I had a blood clot in my right foot, brought on by the kidney disease.
Five days later, on January 8, 2021, I had surgery to amputate my right leg above the knee.
I felt as if my life was over, and I became depressed when thinking of not having much of a life for the future.
After several months of rehabilitation and recovery, I was fitted with a prosthetic leg to aide in my learning to walk again, and to gain more independence.
I began to see my situation with a different perspective, as I began to focus on what I still could do, and not just on what I no longer could do!
Sometime after, I learned of several adaptive sports that were available for amputees. I was able to experience using a hand cycle, playing wheelchair basketball, and playing sled hockey. I found that I really enjoyed sled hockey and began practicing and playing games with the Mighty Penguins adult gold team in Cranberry, PA.
The IM ABLE Foundation grant [for sled hockey equipment] made my dream and desire possible: to be involved in recreational and competitive sports again. I consider myself a beginner athlete again as I have new challenges in learning the skills to play hockey in a different way.
The IM ABLE mission statement says “We remove obstacles that keep people with challenges on the sidelines, providing them access to programs and equipment tailored to their needs and a community of all abilities to support them”. This is exactly what the IM ABLE foundation grant did for me. It removed obstacles and gave me access to equipment which resulted in my being able to be involved in a sport I love, and to enter a new community of other extraordinary people overcoming their challenges to once again experience what they otherwise could not without the help of IM ABLE.
Since starting to play sled hockey last year, my life has really changed. Before I started, I didn’t really have any will to do much of anything.
But since then, I have been able to finish physical therapy and I am able to walk with forearm crutches for short distances.
I am working on returning to work, which I never thought would be possible. And I completed my first 5k last weekend on a handcycle. I am continuing to play sled hockey as I enjoy being part of a team. I am testing right now to prove that I can still safely drive a semi-truck and I will be returning to work soon.
This grant has given me so much more than I ever thought it would.
Thank you IM ABLE and everyone who supports this organization. You changed my life.
Our generous donors and volunteers made this possible and we can’t thank them enough.