Friday, August 19, 2011

Roll With It needs you

Dedicated to maximizing the potential of individuals with disabilities through sports and recreation is the mission of Roll With It (RWI). An organization committed to providing sports and recreation opportunities comparable to those provided for the non-disabled.

RWI operates true to their mission statement. It’s exactly what they did for my son Michael and what they continue to do for others.

Heidi Schwichtenberg, Founder of RWI is a quiet yet assertive basketball superstar. She helped us realize that in spite of Michael's unexpected physical changes, which came from his rare disease SIOD, he could still participate in sports. By more action than words, Heidi showed Michael a wheelchair should not stop him from being the fierce competitor he instinctively was. Those words of truth, coupled with Michael’s “need for speed”, was the beginning of his sheer determination displayed on the basketball court and more importantly, in his life.

In the height of confusing medical appointments and life altering statistics, Michael attended county fairs and integrated basketball scrimmage events promoting adaptive sports with Heidi. Often I thought, we don’t have time for this but I could see the renewed confidence being put back into Michael and our family so we continued. A fast friendship developed between us as we traveled Minnesota with Heidi, discussing and demonstrating the many benefits of RWI. Michael’s personality shined as he showed the crowds the skills he controlled in a small red wheelchair. Simultaneously and somewhat unaware, he learned to let go of other abilities. With a front row seat, we viewed Michael’s disability become a new found ability; the purpose of RWI.

This Monday, August 22, RWI is sponsoring the fifth annual Michael Zimanske Golf Tournament in honor of our hero Michael. One of the many adaptive sports heroes in Minnesota. My family has been eternally changed by the self-less work of Heidi Schwichtenberg, her family and the entire RWI organization. Thank you for making the world a better place for everyone.

Consider your response to participate or donate to RWI once you hear about a young man who didn’t know it was possible to play sports in a wheelchair until he met Heidi and Michael. Now he participates in multiple adaptive sports, thanks to RWI. Out of gratitude, he and his family volunteer at the RWI golf tournament. Another example is from a boy who said, “thanks to Michael and RWI, I can play power adaptive sports now.” His family also volunteers at the tournament because of their appreciation for RWI. These are only a couple stories, there are many that speak of the powerful impact RWI has on real people, right here, in Minnesota.

Please join us this Monday, August 22, 2011 at the Monticello Country Club for the Michael Zimanske Golf Tournament. Whether you can golf, volunteer or donate contact Jan Larson, Executive Director of RWI. The Zimanske Family is grateful for your generosity.

Think about how you can be the Heidi of tomorrow. How can you change someone’s life by giving of yourself. We gather together on Monday, swinging a club, buying a hotdog and pop, reflecting on a boy who gave what he had. Michael rose above his circumstances, giving us the confidence to do the same….Be The Change!

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