Meet our athletes participating in this year's Marine Corps, Bank of America Chicago, and ING New York City marathons.
Team Reeve athlete Michael Murphy is using a hand-cranked recumbent bike to race the 26.2 miles in the 2008 Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC.
As a T-9 paraplegic, whose injury is "complete," he only has feeling and movement from about two inches above his belly button and up. Murphy was injured while at college in April of 2007.
"I often think back to that night. Some say it's tragic," says Murphy. "I say, if it had to happen to someone, I'm glad it happened to me. There are some other people in situations like mine, who can't really deal with it as well."
That says it all about Michael Murphy!
"It started in the hospital," he says. "The amount of support from friends and family, it almost made it impossible to be depressed. There have been those low points when I'm in my room thinking, ‘Why me? Why me? I just want to get up and run.' I think it's unhealthy not to have those points."
Murphy describes himself as a positive person, someone who's always smiling. "I have an incredible family. My dad has been a major source of support, and my mom is a big inspiration. She's very religious, as am I," says Murphy. He pauses, then adds, "Although sometimes I don't go to church as much as I want to."
After his injury, Murphy had five weeks of in-patient therapy. There, he relearned the basics of how to take care of himself, and how to deal with all the complications that come from being paralyzed. He spent the next 12 weeks, two to four hours a day, as an out-patient, where therapy got a lot more rigorous.
The first day's lesson was how to get yourself, and your wheelchair, up and down steps. That meant getting out of his chair to the ground, working his way up the steps using only his upper body, and then pulling his chair up after him with a rope.
Fortunately for Murphy, he has always enjoyed working out. He was in pretty good shape when his mom told him about Team Reeve. "I'm actually training for something now. I'm working out with a purpose. And it gives me incredible motivation when I'm out there on my bike," says Murphy, who recently cranked 37 miles in one ride. "I feel proud to wear the name Team Reeve on my chest."
When asked if he has a finish time in mind, he says, "I don't want to set a goal. I want to take my time. Enjoy the atmosphere. I just want to take it all in, all 26.2 miles!"
Michael Murphy graduated college, and is studying for his GREs for grad school. He wants to study military history, and work for the U.S. military.