Uncle Inspires Brother and Sister Team
Lindsey and Kevin Morgan
with their uncle Robert
By Padmavathy Sonti
One afternoon, in January 1991, 33-year-old Robert Morgan was working at his parent's seafood business in Rochester, New York. In the midst of a robbery, Robert was shot.
"I remember my father getting a phone call," recalls Robert's nephew Kevin Morgan, 35, who was 16-years-old at the time. "It was probably the first time I had seen my dad cry."
"We didn't know if he would live or die," says Kevin's sister Lindsay Morgan, 32. "It was very hard for my dad and my family (living in Pennsylvania at the time), but we got through it."
Robert Morgan would live, but he would be paralyzed from his waist down.
Now, 19 years later, to honor their uncle, Team Reeve All Star members Lindsay and Kevin Morgan participated in the Musselman Half-Iron Triathlon in Geneva, New York on July 11, 2010. The event consists of a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike race, and 13.1 mile run.
Team Reeve is the athletic fundraising arm of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.
Life changing moments
Due to such a life-changing injury, Robert faced a series of difficulties. At the time, he was married with two young children. His family would sell the seafood business and Robert would start his rehab.
He rebuilt his career by shifting the focus of his efforts. "He started a business with nothing," says Lindsay. Today, Robert is the CEO of Morgan Management LLC, a successful real estate company based near Rochester, New York.
"He finds a way to overcome any challenges," adds Kevin. "Aside from his physical limitations, his capabilities are unlimited."
Throughout the years, Lindsay and Kevin have been inspired by their uncle's perseverance and positive attitude. "He has the biggest heart of anybody I know," says Lindsay. "I think that pretty much motivates me."
Within his local community, Robert continues to make significant strides by helping his family and friends, participating in volunteer work, donating to the area hospitals and charities and speaking to others living with spinal cord injuries. As one of its board of directors, Robert maintains a professional relationship with the University of Rochester Medical Center, where his life was saved 19 years earlier.
"He has helped a lot of people along the way and touched a lot of people's lives," reflects Kevin. "He has shown me the right way to treat people and to live my life. And I think that's probably been the biggest thing that I have been able to take from him."
Now, Kevin works alongside his uncle in Morgan Management LLC, while Lindsay lives close-by. "My uncle is an incredible person and we're really fortunate that he's in our lives," says Lindsay. "He's made such an impact on all of us."
Making an impact
When they began fundraising for Team Reeve, Lindsay and Kevin were unsure whether they would be able to meet their initial goal of $50,000.
"People were so generous with their donations because of the impact my uncle has made on them and in that respect, I think, that the fundraising was easy," says Lindsay. Having raised almost $90,000, Lindsay and Kevin continue to exceed expectations.
The Morgan family has supported the Reeve Foundation in its endeavors previously, but this is their first Team Reeve event. "When Christopher Reeve started the Foundation, we became aware and we were more conscious of the paralysis community as a whole," says Kevin. His uncle's injury predated Christopher Reeve's accident by four years.
The Foundation offers so many resources to people," says Lindsay. "It's a big support system and, for us, it's been a really positive organization."
By adopting their uncle's upbeat attitude, Lindsay and Kevin approach Sunday's challenge with immense confidence. They have each participated in other triathlons, and they both hope to cut 20 minutes off their half-ironman times. "Knowing it was for the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation and my uncle was something that made training and fundraising easier."
"This is probably one of the greatest things that I have ever done in my life," comments Lindsay. "And definitely one of the most rewarding things that I'm most proud of."
Support Kevin and Lindsey's efforts.
Learn more about Team Reeve.