My Why: Hantgan Family

Posted by Reeve Staff in Daily Dose on February 06, 2023 # Team Reeve

Hantgan FamilyThroughout his life, Henry Hantgan was the quintessential optimist. Even after sustaining a C6-C7 spinal cord injury when he was 59, Hantgan adapted to his newly shaped world with good humor and determination.

“My father is and will always be my hero,” says Jacqueline Hantgan. “He always looked on the bright side. It wasn’t easy, but he powered through.”

In 2021, Jacqueline was training to run the New York City Marathon for Team Reeve when Henry died unexpectedly at the age of 79. The reason she’d signed up to run was to celebrate the father she cherished; his death left her heartbroken, but she wouldn’t let herself quit.

On the day of the race, a churn of grief and love fueled her steps.

“I just kept thinking, one more moment with my dad, one more step,” she says, adding. “It was obvious when I crossed that finish line that I was going to do it again.”

Last year, Hantgan and her entire family —husband Yoshi Zweiback and daughters Isa, Ariela and Naomi — tackled the marathon together in honor of Henry Hantgan’s memory. Their efforts, together with more than 100 racers at events across the country, helped Team Reeve raise more than $740,000 for spinal cord injury research in 2022.

“It was a record-breaking year thanks to the amazing dedication of community members like Jacqueline and her family,” says Team Reeve Manager Kelly Lamb.

Jaqueline Hantgan

Lamb is now recruiting runners, hand cyclists, and push-rim athletes to participate in Team Reeve events throughout 2023, including the upcoming United Airlines NYC Half Marathon in March. The springtime half marathon, a new addition to Reeve’s calendar, is part of Lamb’s ambitious plans to increase fundraising that helps support spinal cord injury research.

The infectious enthusiasm of Team Reeve alumni makes her job easier, Lamb says, with racers returning year after year with friends and family in tow.

“Not only do so many people come back to race again, but they want others to be involved with Reeve, too,” she says. “It’s a special team. You’re really part of something much bigger than yourself.”

For Jacqueline Hantgan, running for Team Reeve is a way to honor her beloved father and make a difference in the lives of people living with spinal cord injuries.

“The steps we take to run that course are steps we take not just to advance science and research, but to raise awareness about spinal cord injury,” she says. “It’s for my father, and the promise of hope and cures and treatments.”

For more information about how to support Team Reeve, whether running a marathon or planning an individual All-Star event such as a community walk or birthday or bar mitzvah fundraiser, please visit the Reeve Foundation website or call 1-800-539-7309.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.