Tag: Jesse Billauer
Jay Liesener, Team Surfgimp conquer more than just West Coast waves
With sunburnt cheeks and scabbed-over nose, Jay Liesener’s face tells it all. His recent trip to surf California’s southern coast was a success.
That’s a good sunburn, said Liesener with his head-wide smile as his wife, Melanie, helped him get out of their van.
Liesener is a quadriplegic and adaptive surfer who lives in Milton. When Gazette readers last saw him, it was days after a crowd-funding effort had raised more than $15,000 to send him and his team, Team Surfgimp, on a bucket-list-checking surfing trip to southern California.
Second chances are rare in sports, but when surfing phenom Jesse Billauer got his, he also wanted to share it with others like him.
As a 17-year-old amateur surfer in 1996, Billauer was flung head first from his surfboard onto a sandbar. Billauer sustained a spinal cord injury, and doctors diagnosed him as a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the midchest down.
Then in 1999, with the help of his family and friends, he founded a non-profit organization, Life Rolls On, that uses sports to improve quality of life for those suffering from spinal cord injuries. That same year Billauer got back on his surfboard.
Jesse Billauer, a spinal cord injury survivor, describes how he stays positive and leads a happy life by not dwelling on what he can’t do, but by focusing on what he can do.
You’re 17, and the most pressing concerns in your life are binge-drinking, prom, and being your parents’ worst nightmare. The so-called “real world” is incomprehensible to you, and you’re still proud of that freshly printed piece of plastic in your wallet called a “driver’s license.” Doesn’t 17 seem far away? That’s because, for most of us, it is. Senior year, college, jobs, and attendant emotional baggage have come and gone since then. But 17 is how old Jesse Billauer was when he lost the use of his legs. He was just a kid.