Tag: Life Rolls On
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.
CAPE MAY – September has been described as “locals summer,” when the air and water are still warm, and the beaches are not crowded. Chad deSatnick, then 23, was surfing off Poverty Beach, Sept. 30, as he had many times before growing up in Cape May. At the end of his last run, however, his surfboard struck the steep beach break created over the last 10 or 11 years of a state and federally subsidized beach replenishment program. When the board hit the severely sloping sand, deSatnick was toss head first into the hard, wet sand.
His neck hurt, he knew that much, but he was still able to function. He walked around for about a day and a half before his father noticed his was holding his arms away from his body. When asked what was wrong, Chad told his father his arms were tingling.
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.
WILDWOOD CREST — A spinal cord injury doesn’t mean that you have to give up the things that make life worth living.
Even surfing is possible. And on June 18, a group of young people affected by spinal cord injuries took to adaptive surf boards and caught some waves off Rambler Road beach.