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Photographer: Ethan Backer

I entered the world of disability at the age of 19 as a result of a motorcycle accident. The accident caused a compression fracture at my T4-5 vertebrae. While the accident ended my participation in college soccer, lacrosse, and other pursuits, it opened a world for me. I gained a new perspective on life that was hidden to my former able-bodied self.

Three decades later, I live in a suburb of Boston with my wife and 3 children. My work is a mix of commercial and residential real estate ownership and development combined with small businesses, and a non-profit that provides education on self-defense. I’ve been involved in numerous activities and sports—biking, skiing, martial arts, flying airplanes, weight lifting, swimming, and more. I’ve had the opportunity to travel to parts of Europe, Japan, Korea, Venezuela, Mexico, and the US.

My deepest memories do not revolve around my disability. They encompass meaningful life events such as graduating from college, my first real job, meeting my wife, my wedding, and the arrival of my children. As a wheelchair user and paraplegic, I hope to share some of my experiences and knowledge with people with new spinal cord injuries.