Rich Hamill was injured in an automobile accident at age 18. Throughout his journey of living with a spinal cord injury (SCI), Rich has been steadfast in his belief that a positive attitude and healthy body are of utmost importance for people with SCIs. He founded Will2Walk in 2008 in order to make his dream of inspiring others with spinal cord injuries a reality. Today, Rich is a Senior Claim Adjuster for Nationwide Insurance Company. He and his wife, Alesha, have twin girls, Kennedy and Sydney.
“I know that we can empower those with SCIs to regain control of their lives and prepare for the cure through education and perseverance.”
G rowing up in a small town in rural Michigan, my childhood was full of activity. I showed horses, rode motorcycles, and played sports. Like most teenagers, I thought I was invincible. Until February 17, 1992—the day I went on a skiing trip with friends, hit a patch of black ice on the road, and was ejected from the vehicle. When I regained consciousness, I was told I had a spinal cord injury and was paralyzed from the neck down. The doctors told me that with hard work, I may regain some function, but it would be limited at best. I refused to accept this diagnosis. During physical therapy, I continually pushed myself and was able to regain strength in my upper body and some use of my hands.
In the twenty-five years since my accident, I have graduated from college, gotten married, added twin girls to the family and established a successful career. But I’ve always felt something was missing. Something bigger than myself. Something that made all of the struggle and hard work worth it. And from this, the Will2Walk Foundation was born.
My passion and belief
I seek a cure for spinal cord injury now. The need to help the 1.3 million Americans with spinal cord injuries is evident both in terms of the devastating effects on individual families and the billions of dollars in lost American productivity annually. I believe we’ve never been closer to achieving a cure than right now.
I know that we can empower those with SCIs to regain control of their lives and pursue their interests through education and perseverance.