In the late 1980s Wendy Beattie was inspired by ASPIRE, a New York-based charity helping amputees get involved in sports. Just a few years earlier, I was born without my right fibula bone and had a below-knee amputation in October 1985. Wendy, together with my parents (Cy and Margo Weiner), Mike Henry, and Ken Eick worked to get S.O.A.R. off of the ground.
The S.O.A.R. of the 1990s was different than the S.O.A.R. of today. For starters, Special Opportunities for Amputee Rehabilitation has transformed into Special Opportunities for Advanced Rehabilitation. Certain amputees, like me, have had wonderful opportunities to experience all sorts of “normal” events. I have spent my life in sports, playing organized soccer, baseball, basketball, and golf. I have skied for my high school, windsurfed and kayaked for entire summers, and generally experienced a wonderful life of athletics. But other amputees don’t have the support that I have had. They need S.O.A.R.
The money raised through S.O.A.R. has funded nationally ranked amputee golfers and paralympians. It has helped ordinary amputees become extraordinary athletes. S.O.A.R. has become greater than just a charity for amputees. For that reason, and others, we no longer limit S.O.A.R. to amputees. Anyone who needs help to fulfill an athletic dream deserves our help.