Leaping Larry

Every day is an opportunity to live, love, laugh, and learn. Can you imagine growing up with a disability, confined to a wheelchair and being able to say those same words? Can you really live life to its fullest and make the most of it in that condition? I can and I did. My wheelchair isn't a prison; it's my chariot of freedom.

I didn't always have my freedom so readily available. Born in Detroit, Michigan in 1944, I was diagnosed with spina bifida: my backbone and membranes didn't close completely around my spinal cord. As a result, I was ambulatory for 38 years until the summer of 1982. I woke up one morning ready to go to work when I realized that my legs did not work anymore. I was immediately taken to the hospital where my spine was operated on to keep my condition from getting any worse.

You can only imagine the turmoil and frustration that I felt. Literally overnight, everything changed and I became a person that uses a wheelchair for mobility. But I didn't let it stop me from living my life...not by a long shot.

One year after my surgery, in October 1983, I trained and performed my first marathon in a wheelchair. I even did a second marathon in 1984 where I shaved a whole 30 minutes off my previous time. That earned me fifteen minutes of fame! Next up was skydiving, which earned me my nickname "Leaping Larry" and more fame as my story was aired on WXYZ, a local TV station in Detroit.

Leaping Larry with his glider

My Quickie wheelchair really is my chariot and my key to freedom. I have done it all: water skiing, snow skiing, scuba diving, flying in a glider, even trying to be the first person to use a wheelchair to drag race a motorcycle. As of June 25th, 2016 I am 72 years old and still active in both my Quickie manual and power wheelchairs. I currently use my Quickie power chair for runs to places around the neighborhood or when using public transportation. I can even drive my sports car with my Quickie Revolution chair! Living the dream!

Life is too short to pass by opportunities to live and enjoy the journey. Be active and don't let your weaknesses slow you down. With the right tools, you might find they actually make you stronger.

About the Author

Leaping Larry with the Detroit Lions mascot, Roary

My name is Lawrence W. Dilworth Jr., aka "Leaping Larry." Life rolls on if you roll with it — I have happily done so with my Quickie wheelchair for many years. Born with spina bifida and having lost the use of my legs at 38, I have still had the ability to lead an active life full of adventures and possibilities. LIVE, LOVE, LAUGH & LEARN!

Most of the stories here on LiveQuickie.com were submitted by readers. Do you have a story to tell? We'd love to hear it. Submit your story here.

Date: 3/14/2017 12:00:00 AM

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