Eric Gabriel is living proof that no matter what life may throw you, it’s best to go through it with a smile on your face.
When Eric lost his first leg in 2009, he refused to let his disability deter him from living life to the fullest. He had played competitive softball for 18 years and was passionate about athletics. That's when he happened upon adaptive rowing. A sport that heavily relied on upper body strength.
Eric began practicing every day and soon enough, was competing in the indoor rowing adaptive championships. He won a silver medal and earned a tryout with the US Paralympic rowing team. Rowing brought meaning and purpose to his life.
A few years later, he decided to go back to school. He had an interest in higher education and wanted to share his journey with others. He wrote his dissertation about adaptive rowing and earned his doctorate in 2018. However, that same year he lost his second leg.
Eric is now learning how to live as a double amputee. Unfortunately, his days are generally spent homebound and socially isolated but he is optimistic about the future. His goal is to purchase an adaptable van to get out in the community, teach at the college level, and provide motivational speaking.
He dreams of the day he’s able to drive to the beach again. Windows rolled down and music turned up!
Even after losing both legs to knee injuries, Eric is one of the happiest and most inspiring men I’ve gotten the chance to speak with. He refuses to let his disability hold him back and is making the best out of what others may see as an unfortunate situation.
If you're interested in helping Eric purchase an adaptive van, check out his dedicated Go Fund Me page. An adaptive van costs approximately between $40,000 and $72,000.