Paralympian to race wheelchair from LA to NYC
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Ryan Chalmers, who was born with spina bifida, has been competing in wheelchair races since he was eight. He now wants to test his boundaries with a Push Across America.
"Coming up this Saturday, I'm actually going to be pushing my racing wheelchair, starting here in L.A. at 10 a.m. and pushing all the way, 3,400 miles to New York City," Chalmers said.
He'll travel 60 miles a day, in the hopes of reaching New York City in 71 days.
"The message that I was given even when I was young is to really stay focused and never give up. Everybody should find the passion and find your passion of what you love to do."
Chalmers journey will benefit others through his Stay-Focused campaign. Stay-Focused is a non-profit organization that raises awareness and funds for teens and young adults with disabilities to provide them scuba diving certification through PADI, the Professional Association of Diving Instructors./p>
Ryan's roommate Aaron Pike became disabled in a hunting accident at 13 years old. He met Ryan playing wheelchair basketball and while they have competed in countless marathons, both love the freedom diving provides.
"There's nowhere you can get that freedom from your disability besides diving," Pike said.
"They get in the water and they're no longer restrained by gravity and all of a sudden they feel like everyone else," Karl Shreeves of Professional Association of Diving Instructors said.
"People in a wheelchair are always in a seated position," Chalmers said. "When you go into the water, you're able to stretch out. Your legs will come out from underneath you and its very, very good physically."
Aaron will be assisting Ryan on his journey which launches Saturday at Staples Center and ends in Central Park, New York on June 15.
"It's definitely a big test for me and something I've never done before, but I'm looking forward to it, it's exciting," Chalmers said.
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