Our Ambassadors

Triumph Foundation is made up of 80 professionally trained peer mentors that we call Ambassadors. The Ambassadors live throughout Southern California and work with 22 hospitals to make personal connections with patients, deliver Care Packs that include educational materials about services, organizations, equipment, assistance programs, and activities that exist to help people achieve the best possible health outcome and maximize their quality-of-life.

Katelyn Bergman
Lead Ambassador
Bio

I became a C6-7 quadriplegic from a car accident at the age of three. Growing up, I wanted nothing more than to ride bikes, play tennis, and go swimming like my friends but I found it hard to find adaptive programs that gave me the same opportunities as the other kids.

I fell out of the Spinal Cord Injury community until 2016 when I was searching for a driver’s training grant and was told about Triumph Foundation through Janette Knudson who is an ambassador for Triumph. She encouraged me to apply for a grant and the rest is history. Not only did I receive a grant to help me drive, I gained a community and a family and in doing so I learned so much about the SCI community and myself but als...

I became a C6-7 quadriplegic from a car accident at the age of three. Growing up, I wanted nothing more than to ride bikes, play tennis, and go swimming like my friends but I found it hard to find adaptive programs that gave me the same opportunities as the other kids.

I fell out of the Spinal Cord Injury community until 2016 when I was searching for a driver’s training grant and was told about Triumph Foundation through Janette Knudson who is an ambassador for Triumph. She encouraged me to apply for a grant and the rest is history. Not only did I receive a grant to help me drive, I gained a community and a family and in doing so I learned so much about the SCI community and myself but also about Triumph and the opportunities they provide for people like myself; showing others that life after injury is possible. Now on a regular basis I get to participate in programs such as handcycling, baseball, skiing, rugby, and so much more.

I became an Ambassador for Triumph Foundation because I fell in love with helping others, visiting newly injured patients in hospitals and rehabs as a mentor, and participating and volunteering in adaptive recreational sports activities and weekly support groups. I am proud and honored to call the Triumph family my family.

Damon Whittaker
Ambassador
Bio

Getting injured at the age of 14 and suffering a C7 spinal cord injury was life changing-especially when life is just starting. Because I was so young it made adjusting a little easier. With the loving support of my family I was able to graduate from high school on time and attend Cal State University Northridge. As a young adult I ventured out into the working world. At that time, my goal was to help change society’s view of disabled people. I came across an article about Triumph Foundation and all of the great things it was doing within the community. Ever since attending a hand cycling event in 2012, I’ve made sure that I was a part of this great organization any way I can. As they say teamw...

Getting injured at the age of 14 and suffering a C7 spinal cord injury was life changing-especially when life is just starting. Because I was so young it made adjusting a little easier. With the loving support of my family I was able to graduate from high school on time and attend Cal State University Northridge. As a young adult I ventured out into the working world. At that time, my goal was to help change society’s view of disabled people. I came across an article about Triumph Foundation and all of the great things it was doing within the community. Ever since attending a hand cycling event in 2012, I’ve made sure that I was a part of this great organization any way I can. As they say teamwork makes the dream work!

Erik St. Amant
Ambassador
Bio

Erik has been a C1-C2 quadriplegic for 28 years. Erik met Andrew at an Orange County SCI support group and has been involved with Triumph nonstop ever since. As a Triumph Ambassador, he attends numerous SCI support groups, visits newly injured patients, and attends and helps with Triumph’s events and fundraisers. Erik says, “I show up. I’m stubbornly independent and a follower of Christ.” One of Eric’s favorite memories with Triumph is watching his mother at the age of 79, finish the Superhero 5K. He also enjoys being the MC at the annual Wheelchair Sports Festival.

In addition to the work Erik does with Triumph, he also speaks to physical therapy students at Chapma...

Erik has been a C1-C2 quadriplegic for 28 years. Erik met Andrew at an Orange County SCI support group and has been involved with Triumph nonstop ever since. As a Triumph Ambassador, he attends numerous SCI support groups, visits newly injured patients, and attends and helps with Triumph’s events and fundraisers. Erik says, “I show up. I’m stubbornly independent and a follower of Christ.” One of Eric’s favorite memories with Triumph is watching his mother at the age of 79, finish the Superhero 5K. He also enjoys being the MC at the annual Wheelchair Sports Festival.

In addition to the work Erik does with Triumph, he also speaks to physical therapy students at Chapman University about what it’s like living with an SCI and how they can better understand and treat someone living with an SCI. This information is invaluable to these students. He also encourages the students to volunteer with Triumph and get to know the community that they will be serving after graduation.

Shawn Fluke
Ambassador

I’m a C5-C6 Quadriplegic from a snowboarding accident in January 2004. I worked hard to gain my independence after my injury, and I’m now an Ambassador and peer mentor for Triumph. I enjoy traveling the country playing wheelchair rugby. I have a YouTube channel called Live To Roll that shares information about how I do things in daily life, and awesome disability sports activities. I like motivating others and providing hope to people after they suffer a traumatic injury.

I’m a C5-C6 Quadriplegic from a snowboarding accident in January 2004. I worked hard to gain my independence after my injury, and I’m now an Ambassador and peer mentor for Triumph. I enjoy traveling the country playing wheelchair rugby. I have a YouTube channel called Live To Roll that shares information about how I do things in daily life, and awesome disability sports activities. I like motivating others and providing hope to people after they suffer a traumatic injury.

Edie Perkins
Ambassador
Bio

I was a runner and cyclist. On April 20, 2017, I headed out on a bike ride. Ten minutes in, a car drove into me. I broke my neck, my back, my ribs, and my spine was crushed at T5, leaving me paralyzed. I knew I wanted to get back into sports. The question was how!

A couple months into rehab, Triumph appeared and introduced me to people with SCI who were thriving. As soon as I was out of rehab, I started going to Triumph’s handcycling clinics. I’m now on a handcycling team, competing around the country. Getting active helped me in so many ways. I’m back to work and living life the way I like to. The support I got from Triumph was so helpful and I want to help others the way people helpe...

I was a runner and cyclist. On April 20, 2017, I headed out on a bike ride. Ten minutes in, a car drove into me. I broke my neck, my back, my ribs, and my spine was crushed at T5, leaving me paralyzed. I knew I wanted to get back into sports. The question was how!

A couple months into rehab, Triumph appeared and introduced me to people with SCI who were thriving. As soon as I was out of rehab, I started going to Triumph’s handcycling clinics. I’m now on a handcycling team, competing around the country. Getting active helped me in so many ways. I’m back to work and living life the way I like to. The support I got from Triumph was so helpful and I want to help others the way people helped me.

Chelsee Fuerch
Ambassador
Bio

My name is Chelsee Fuerch, and I was born and raised in Santa Maria, CA. I was the passenger in a car accident in June 2019 where I sustained a cervical spinal cord injury. I’m a C4/5 quadriplegic paralyzed from the chest down with limited arm function and have been living with a SCI for 3 ½ years. I’ve always had a strong passion for helping others and I ended up obtaining a bachelor’s degree in psychology. I’m currently going back to school for a human services certificate and plan on pursuing a master’s degree in counseling.

I live with my mom, brother and our two cats. I love being outdoors, soaking up the warmth from the sun. I own an awesome piece of equipment called a F...

My name is Chelsee Fuerch, and I was born and raised in Santa Maria, CA. I was the passenger in a car accident in June 2019 where I sustained a cervical spinal cord injury. I’m a C4/5 quadriplegic paralyzed from the chest down with limited arm function and have been living with a SCI for 3 ½ years. I’ve always had a strong passion for helping others and I ended up obtaining a bachelor’s degree in psychology. I’m currently going back to school for a human services certificate and plan on pursuing a master’s degree in counseling.

I live with my mom, brother and our two cats. I love being outdoors, soaking up the warmth from the sun. I own an awesome piece of equipment called a Freedom Trax where I’m able to continue to participate and enjoy hiking. The trax connects to my manual wheelchair and is battery operated with a joystick to control the chair. Having to constantly adapt to various situations has shown me that several hobbies, sports, jobs, etc., are still 100% possible after a spinal cord injury or any other physical disability, it may just look different.

I encourage others to continue to pursue their passions and dreams, regardless of their disability. I first learned about the Triumph Foundation through my prior boss who then connected me to Andrew. I’m so grateful and beyond blessed to have been connected to the Triumph Foundation early on. So far my favorite memory with Triumph Foundation is when I went skiing in Big Bear January 2022. I never thought something like skiing would be possible for someone with my level of injury. If I had to describe the Triumph Foundation with one word, it would be community. I’m a peer ambassador for the Triumph Foundation where I attend support group meetings and continue to be a resource for the newly injured and those who have been injured for years. I hope to continue to be a beacon of light for those who need support and help throughout their recover.

Danny Gomez
Ambassador
Bio

I was injured on May 20, 2016, in a mountain biking accident that left me as a T-11 T-12 paraplegic. I fell into a severe depression shortly after I left rehab. I didn’t want to leave the house and felt alone and scared.

One day, as I scrolled through Facebook, I saw there was an organization doing a wheelchair sports festival. I decided to get out of my comfort zone and attend this festival. That’s when I met Triumph Foundation, and everything changed for me.  I was introduced to a wonderful community of loving people who shared my same issues and thoughts. I was received with open arms and couldn’t be happier to now be an Ambassador giving back to people who were in my ...

I was injured on May 20, 2016, in a mountain biking accident that left me as a T-11 T-12 paraplegic. I fell into a severe depression shortly after I left rehab. I didn’t want to leave the house and felt alone and scared.

One day, as I scrolled through Facebook, I saw there was an organization doing a wheelchair sports festival. I decided to get out of my comfort zone and attend this festival. That’s when I met Triumph Foundation, and everything changed for me.  I was introduced to a wonderful community of loving people who shared my same issues and thoughts. I was received with open arms and couldn’t be happier to now be an Ambassador giving back to people who were in my position. I currently coach handcycling clinics and attend support groups.

Outside of Triumph, I took charge of my life and am pursuing a career in the entertainment industry. I owe everything to Triumph and will continue to use what I have learned to help others Triumph over paralysis.

Brianna Wheeler
Ambassador

I was injured four years ago when I was shot while sitting in my car, resulting in a T12-L5 spinal cord injury. The beginning was extremely hard for me, but after two long years I’m grateful I was connected with Triumph Foundation. They brought me into the community and it changed my life. I became more confident in my chair and found a passion in acting. I started a Women’s SCI Support Group in the Claremont area and love helping others.

I was injured four years ago when I was shot while sitting in my car, resulting in a T12-L5 spinal cord injury. The beginning was extremely hard for me, but after two long years I’m grateful I was connected with Triumph Foundation. They brought me into the community and it changed my life. I became more confident in my chair and found a passion in acting. I started a Women’s SCI Support Group in the Claremont area and love helping others.

Luis Nok Outumuro
Lead Ambassador
Bio

After high school I went to work in the oilfields. In February 1981, I was working as a derrick-hand on the tower of a production/workover rig in North Dakota’s Williston Basin. During a snowstorm in whiteout conditions and minus -30/-70 degree temps, there was a crash on the rig. It ejected me at high velocity up and out away from the rig… 100′ up and 50′ away. My injuries included crushing my L3/L4 vertebrae, both wrists, both right ankle and left heel, as well as my nose and face. Thanks to the US Air Force for sending a snowcat ambulance to get me to the hospital, and to North Dakota for flying me home to Los Angeles so I could rehab at both Rancho Los Amigos National Re...

After high school I went to work in the oilfields. In February 1981, I was working as a derrick-hand on the tower of a production/workover rig in North Dakota’s Williston Basin. During a snowstorm in whiteout conditions and minus -30/-70 degree temps, there was a crash on the rig. It ejected me at high velocity up and out away from the rig… 100′ up and 50′ away. My injuries included crushing my L3/L4 vertebrae, both wrists, both right ankle and left heel, as well as my nose and face. Thanks to the US Air Force for sending a snowcat ambulance to get me to the hospital, and to North Dakota for flying me home to Los Angeles so I could rehab at both Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center (2 years in-patient) and Casa Colina Hospital and Centers for Healthcare (1 year out-patient).

During rehab I attended Cerritos College’s orthotic and prosthetic technician’s program, became a patient volunteer at Rancho’s Orthotics and Prosthetics Department, got myself an apartment, played wheelchair basketball with the Whittier Wings, and got married. A few years later I began a career in Information Technology, bought a home, and had two awesome sons (who are both emergency room RNs now). Over the decades I was a contract IT professional for large companies; open source developer; and a gaming community middleware publisher. My kids went to college. I was divorced. I was also a hospice volunteer for a couple of years. But something was missing.

I was a ronin, a warrior without a master, the master being a cause. A greater good to live and fight for. In 2010 I met the Skinner family, and Andrew was the messenger of a cause called the Triumph Foundation. Triumph Foundation serves a community people new to their circumstances, with ambassadors who have already lived that journey. People say, “One cannot know without having lived it.” At Triumph Foundation we have lived it and teach the skills to communicate and express it.

Tom Conaway
Ambassador

I am a 27-year-old, C5/6 incomplete quadriplegic.  I was injured in an automobile accident in 1997 when I was four years old. Following high school, I moved from the bay area to LA to pursue my bachelor’s in computer science.  Since then I’ve achieved my master’s degree in software engineering.  For the last few years, I’ve had the wonderful pleasure of being involved with Triumph Foundation. I’ve learned so much from this community and want to share my knowledge and experiences with others who might benefit.

I am a 27-year-old, C5/6 incomplete quadriplegic.  I was injured in an automobile accident in 1997 when I was four years old. Following high school, I moved from the bay area to LA to pursue my bachelor’s in computer science.  Since then I’ve achieved my master’s degree in software engineering.  For the last few years, I’ve had the wonderful pleasure of being involved with Triumph Foundation. I’ve learned so much from this community and want to share my knowledge and experiences with others who might benefit.

Jessica Brito
Ambassador
Bio

At the age of 21 I was a full-time student at Cal State Fullerton, worked part-time as a tutor and was raising my 4-year-old son.  After a week of extreme levels of stress and lack of rest I fell asleep while driving. On July 3, 2010, I was diagnosed with a C7 incomplete spinal cord injury. For the first time since I was a little kid, I did not have a plan for my future. I felt completely lost in a brand-new body, but I knew I had to push myself to recover in order to provide for my child.

I applied for a manual chair through Triumph, returned to school, and gained back my independence. In the last 10 years I have graduated college, raised an amazing kid, and have become a mental health t...

At the age of 21 I was a full-time student at Cal State Fullerton, worked part-time as a tutor and was raising my 4-year-old son.  After a week of extreme levels of stress and lack of rest I fell asleep while driving. On July 3, 2010, I was diagnosed with a C7 incomplete spinal cord injury. For the first time since I was a little kid, I did not have a plan for my future. I felt completely lost in a brand-new body, but I knew I had to push myself to recover in order to provide for my child.

I applied for a manual chair through Triumph, returned to school, and gained back my independence. In the last 10 years I have graduated college, raised an amazing kid, and have become a mental health therapist. In 2019, I received a Triumph Employment Achievement Award to start my own private practice. Currently I run a private practice, work from a medical clinic, volunteer as an Ambassador for Triumph, and am a full-time mom.

As an Ambassador of Triumph I have been able to give back to newly injured patients and was able to start an evening SCI support group for others who have busy work lives.

Michele Altamirano
Lead Ambassador
Bio

Michele has been a C6-C7 quadriplegic for almost 30 years. Michele met Andrew shortly after the beginning of Triumph Foundation. Michele wears many hats as an ambassador for Triumph. She leads the Oxnard SCI support group, the Triumph women’s group, and also helps with the Santa Barbara SCI support group. In addition to these many duties, Michele also visits newly injured patients and attends Triumph events and fundraisers.

When asked how she would describe Triumph, Michele said, “Seeing the excited faces of the newcomers to the many Triumph events is such a joy, especially the children.  I enjoy the camaraderie that exists among the Triumph family, I know we can all count on ea...

Michele has been a C6-C7 quadriplegic for almost 30 years. Michele met Andrew shortly after the beginning of Triumph Foundation. Michele wears many hats as an ambassador for Triumph. She leads the Oxnard SCI support group, the Triumph women’s group, and also helps with the Santa Barbara SCI support group. In addition to these many duties, Michele also visits newly injured patients and attends Triumph events and fundraisers.

When asked how she would describe Triumph, Michele said, “Seeing the excited faces of the newcomers to the many Triumph events is such a joy, especially the children.  I enjoy the camaraderie that exists among the Triumph family, I know we can all count on each other.”

Steve & DeAnn Campbell
Ambassador
Bio

(Steve) I was injured in 2011, resulting in C6 incomplete quadriplegia. Triumph Foundation is like a best friend, there to encourage you to keep going and be there at your side through your new challenges. Everyone who is involved in the foundation gets it! Members and Ambassadors are disabled themselves and those who aren’t, have a spouse or family member who is. When you’re involved with Triumph, you pay-it-forward by talking to others who are injured. We can help others when they’re questioning their new lifestyle and learn from what they are going through, too. Triumph is a large support group.

Triumph touches so many lives at their events whether you’re injured or a ...

(Steve) I was injured in 2011, resulting in C6 incomplete quadriplegia. Triumph Foundation is like a best friend, there to encourage you to keep going and be there at your side through your new challenges. Everyone who is involved in the foundation gets it! Members and Ambassadors are disabled themselves and those who aren’t, have a spouse or family member who is. When you’re involved with Triumph, you pay-it-forward by talking to others who are injured. We can help others when they’re questioning their new lifestyle and learn from what they are going through, too. Triumph is a large support group.

Triumph touches so many lives at their events whether you’re injured or a caregiver/spouse/partner. Everyone can relate to just about anything a newly injured person is dealing with. We visit newly injured people and listen. Listen to their questions, counsel them, and keep in touch to help them on their ever-changing journey. They are given a care package which gives them a good head start on their new lifestyle and shows them that there is life after an SCI. The body was built to move. Exercise is medicine. Triumph has different adaptive sporting events throughout the year so there’s no excuse not to stay active. And Triumph helps with the financial burden of getting equipment, whether it’s for sporting equipment or something people need around their house to make their lives a little easier.

Erica Franco
Ambassador

I was injured on November 1, 2018; and my level of injury is T6-T7 incomplete. Since my injury I have accomplished graduating with a bachelor’s in social work from CSUSB. I have traveled, learned how to drive, and began to take back my independence. For me, helping others brings me great joy, because I like to watch their journey. Watching people regain their independence and find happiness in their life once again is the most rewarding thing, even more so if you I took part in it. That is why I love being apart of Triumph.

I was injured on November 1, 2018; and my level of injury is T6-T7 incomplete. Since my injury I have accomplished graduating with a bachelor’s in social work from CSUSB. I have traveled, learned how to drive, and began to take back my independence. For me, helping others brings me great joy, because I like to watch their journey. Watching people regain their independence and find happiness in their life once again is the most rewarding thing, even more so if you I took part in it. That is why I love being apart of Triumph.

Cynthia Gstettenbauer
Ambassador
Bio

Cindy survived a spinal cord T-12, L-1 injury, 44 years ago.  As a result of her freak accident, she spent a couple weeks in a coma, eventually waking to a new life.  After a month in the hospital post-surgery and four months in rehab, at the age of 12, she realized inclusion is a dream that needed to be given a voice.  At that time, the ADA was just coming to life thanks to Vietnam and some courageous people speaking up.  “Lives Worth Living” began to blossom.

Cindy is an activist and advocate speaker at municipal functions, serves on the Ms. Wheelchair California Board of Directors, and was a state, national, international, and lifetime title holder. She is also an Ambassador for T...

Cindy survived a spinal cord T-12, L-1 injury, 44 years ago.  As a result of her freak accident, she spent a couple weeks in a coma, eventually waking to a new life.  After a month in the hospital post-surgery and four months in rehab, at the age of 12, she realized inclusion is a dream that needed to be given a voice.  At that time, the ADA was just coming to life thanks to Vietnam and some courageous people speaking up.  “Lives Worth Living” began to blossom.

Cindy is an activist and advocate speaker at municipal functions, serves on the Ms. Wheelchair California Board of Directors, and was a state, national, international, and lifetime title holder. She is also an Ambassador for Triumph Foundation, her and her husband Bob are involved in all the events and loves being a part of the Triumph family.

Ryan Chavarria
Ambassador

I was injured on June 6, 2014; and am a T12 incomplete paraplegic. I was shot in a drive-by shooting which changed my life in a good way. After my injury I wasn’t sure how I was going to continue my life, until I met some people from Triumph Foundation.

Triumph told me that this was only a detour and there are ways to adapt to overcome any obstacle. I started playing even more sports and activities in my wheelchair than before my injury.  And now I am back to driving and also went back to school where I want to pursue my education in counseling to become a mentor and even one day have my own practice to counsel people with spinal cord injuries.

I was injured on June 6, 2014; and am a T12 incomplete paraplegic. I was shot in a drive-by shooting which changed my life in a good way. After my injury I wasn’t sure how I was going to continue my life, until I met some people from Triumph Foundation.

Triumph told me that this was only a detour and there are ways to adapt to overcome any obstacle. I started playing even more sports and activities in my wheelchair than before my injury.  And now I am back to driving and also went back to school where I want to pursue my education in counseling to become a mentor and even one day have my own practice to counsel people with spinal cord injuries.

Laurie Short
Ambassador
Bio

On November 18, 2020, I fell from my balcony while attempting to clean my rain gutters. My life changed drastically in that split second when I became a T9 paraplegic. The long six weeks and six days spent  in the hospital and in rehab during COVID was extremely lonely as I was isolated from my husband, four children, and all of my family and friends. Thankfully while in rehab, the staff at Casa Colina connected me to Andrew, Mickie, and several other Triumph “family” members via zoom calls. Without their smiling faces, encouraging words, and empathetic compassion, I’m not sure how I would have made it through that dark time. And ever since my accident, I have been so blessed by the beautifu...

On November 18, 2020, I fell from my balcony while attempting to clean my rain gutters. My life changed drastically in that split second when I became a T9 paraplegic. The long six weeks and six days spent  in the hospital and in rehab during COVID was extremely lonely as I was isolated from my husband, four children, and all of my family and friends. Thankfully while in rehab, the staff at Casa Colina connected me to Andrew, Mickie, and several other Triumph “family” members via zoom calls. Without their smiling faces, encouraging words, and empathetic compassion, I’m not sure how I would have made it through that dark time. And ever since my accident, I have been so blessed by the beautiful community of Triumph support groups and the adaptive activities they offer. My desire is to spread the same message Triumph Foundation shares with all of my family, friends, and SCI newcomers: Life post injury can be full of joy and possibilities!

Ryan Butcher
Ambassador

I suffered a C4/5/6 spinal cord injury in 2016 as a result of an automobile accident. I am still working towards an independent life, however that may look. I am very fortunate to have an ongoing wonderful support network with the Triumph family. My passion is the outdoors and adaptive sports. I believe outdoor recreation is an important part to one’s rehabilitation and reintegration into public life after a spinal cord injury. Triumph helped me achieve that, now I’m helping others as an Ambassador for Triumph Foundation.

I suffered a C4/5/6 spinal cord injury in 2016 as a result of an automobile accident. I am still working towards an independent life, however that may look. I am very fortunate to have an ongoing wonderful support network with the Triumph family. My passion is the outdoors and adaptive sports. I believe outdoor recreation is an important part to one’s rehabilitation and reintegration into public life after a spinal cord injury. Triumph helped me achieve that, now I’m helping others as an Ambassador for Triumph Foundation.

Larry Dunn
Ambassador

In 1994 Larry was a very misguided youth and suffered a self-inflicted spinal cord injury. Unresolved childhood pain had set him on a destructive path that would lead to either prison or the grave. Ironically, this tragic event saved his life and made it more purposeful. Dealing with the pain of his spinal cord injury changed his life for the better and put him on a path to personal redemption and inspiration to others. As a quadriplegic, Larry was forced to face his demons, and on this journey found peace.  He is now a proud Ambassador for Triumph Foundation and loves to help other people who suffer catastrophic injuries.

In 1994 Larry was a very misguided youth and suffered a self-inflicted spinal cord injury. Unresolved childhood pain had set him on a destructive path that would lead to either prison or the grave. Ironically, this tragic event saved his life and made it more purposeful. Dealing with the pain of his spinal cord injury changed his life for the better and put him on a path to personal redemption and inspiration to others. As a quadriplegic, Larry was forced to face his demons, and on this journey found peace.  He is now a proud Ambassador for Triumph Foundation and loves to help other people who suffer catastrophic injuries.

Tyler Allen
Ambassador
Bio

On October 31, 2020, I crashed on my dirt bike at Dumont dunes resulting in a T-12 spinal cord injury. While I was still in the hospital someone reached out to my mom and introduced her to Triumph Foundation and when I came home it was one of the first stops I made. I think I met Andrew at the shop about a week after I arrived home from the hospital. Only 6 months after my accident, I began driving again and completed a marathon on my hand bike a year and a half post-accident.

I am an Ambassador for the Triumph Foundation and a mentor to people who are newly injured. I’m always willing and wanting to help out in any way that I can. If you want to have fun and be part of a wonderful support...

On October 31, 2020, I crashed on my dirt bike at Dumont dunes resulting in a T-12 spinal cord injury. While I was still in the hospital someone reached out to my mom and introduced her to Triumph Foundation and when I came home it was one of the first stops I made. I think I met Andrew at the shop about a week after I arrived home from the hospital. Only 6 months after my accident, I began driving again and completed a marathon on my hand bike a year and a half post-accident.

I am an Ambassador for the Triumph Foundation and a mentor to people who are newly injured. I’m always willing and wanting to help out in any way that I can. If you want to have fun and be part of a wonderful supportive family I would suggest hanging out and getting involved with the Triumph Foundation. My hobbies include mountain biking, off roading, camping, fishing, kayaking, basketball, rugby and anything else that gets me moving and outside. I have 3 pet lizards: a bearded dragon, a crested gecko and a leopard gecko.

Rocío Magdaleno
Ambassador
Bio

I was in a car accident while attending CSUN that resulted in a level T-12 incomplete spinal cord injury. With the love and support from my mother and sister, I was able to return to college and receive my B.A. in Liberal Studies. After college, I met my wonderful boyfriend who became my husband and father to our son. With his love and support I was able to complete my teaching credential. Tragically, my husband passed away when our son was four years old. Despite all odds, I was able to persevere and move forward. I proudly sit as a Kindergarten teacher in South Los Angeles where I not only teach academics to children, I also teach disability awareness. I am very blessed and I am an extremely pr...

I was in a car accident while attending CSUN that resulted in a level T-12 incomplete spinal cord injury. With the love and support from my mother and sister, I was able to return to college and receive my B.A. in Liberal Studies. After college, I met my wonderful boyfriend who became my husband and father to our son. With his love and support I was able to complete my teaching credential. Tragically, my husband passed away when our son was four years old. Despite all odds, I was able to persevere and move forward. I proudly sit as a Kindergarten teacher in South Los Angeles where I not only teach academics to children, I also teach disability awareness. I am very blessed and I am an extremely proud mother of an amazing son who is a musician and he is currently attending Harvard University. I am grateful and excited to be an ambassador for Triumph Foundation to help, motivate, and inspire others to continue their journey.

Cy Estabrook
Ambassador

I had a slip and fall accident in December of 2015 causing a T-12 Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury just before my 60th birthday. Andrew Skinner delivered a special gift basket with resource materials on Spinal Cord Injuries to my room at Casa Colina Rehab Hospital. He explained about the Triumph Foundation and how they help people get their lives going again. Since then I have been very involved with Triumph and became one of their Ambassadors.

 

I had a slip and fall accident in December of 2015 causing a T-12 Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury just before my 60th birthday. Andrew Skinner delivered a special gift basket with resource materials on Spinal Cord Injuries to my room at Casa Colina Rehab Hospital. He explained about the Triumph Foundation and how they help people get their lives going again. Since then I have been very involved with Triumph and became one of their Ambassadors.

 

Janette Knudson
Bio

I was injured in a car accident in 1992. I sustained a spinal cord injury at level C6-7. I was 33 years old and the mother of a three-year-old little girl. Unfortunately I didn’t gain any ambulatory function and I am a full time power wheelchair user.

My motivation to get back home and resume being a mother was fierce. With the help of New Start Homes, 9 months later I was living independently, (with caregivers morning and evening) in an apartment with my daughter. The help I received and my success planted the seed of how peer support can benefit the recovery process.

In 2010 I attained a bachelors degree in social welfare and have been employed as a social worker for 10 years ...

I was injured in a car accident in 1992. I sustained a spinal cord injury at level C6-7. I was 33 years old and the mother of a three-year-old little girl. Unfortunately I didn’t gain any ambulatory function and I am a full time power wheelchair user.

My motivation to get back home and resume being a mother was fierce. With the help of New Start Homes, 9 months later I was living independently, (with caregivers morning and evening) in an apartment with my daughter. The help I received and my success planted the seed of how peer support can benefit the recovery process.

In 2010 I attained a bachelors degree in social welfare and have been employed as a social worker for 10 years working in a rehab facility
Since it’s inception I have been proud to be part of Triumph Foundation. I have been involved in several areas but mainly in support of newly injured people and their families.

No one is ready for the effects of a catastrophic injury. Those of us that have navigated the world of disability and triumphed to become productive in society want to help those that come behind us.

My most recent accomplishment though is being the best Granny ever. My two-year-old grandson loves to zoom down the street and chase the garbage truck on my lap. What a joy to be around to be part of his life. Never give up.

Cody Brunk
Ambassador

I was in a dirt bike accident on December 17, 2018; that left me with a T8-T9 SCI. After my injury, I thought I had lost all ability to do things I love. Thankfully, I met with Triumph Foundation early on and they showed me life was not over and I am still able to do many of the things I love to do, just with a little adjustment. I became a Triumph Ambassador because I want to meet with people who are going through that same experience to let them know that they are not alone, and that they can still enjoy life and live every day to its fullest.

I was in a dirt bike accident on December 17, 2018; that left me with a T8-T9 SCI. After my injury, I thought I had lost all ability to do things I love. Thankfully, I met with Triumph Foundation early on and they showed me life was not over and I am still able to do many of the things I love to do, just with a little adjustment. I became a Triumph Ambassador because I want to meet with people who are going through that same experience to let them know that they are not alone, and that they can still enjoy life and live every day to its fullest.

Roberto Arellano
Ambassador

I was injured in 2014, resulting a C6-C7 quadriplegia. Triumph Foundation offers clinics for different sports for you to try out. They have amazing volunteers willing to help you out. They don’t see a disability; they see a possibility and you are treated with respect. They treat you like family. And me being a Triumph Ambassador let’s me be there every step of the way!

I was injured in 2014, resulting a C6-C7 quadriplegia. Triumph Foundation offers clinics for different sports for you to try out. They have amazing volunteers willing to help you out. They don’t see a disability; they see a possibility and you are treated with respect. They treat you like family. And me being a Triumph Ambassador let’s me be there every step of the way!

Peter Chun
Ambassador
Bio

After spending 15 years as a non-profit attorney and 10 years as an overseas missionary, I returned to North American to pursue a Master’s in Theological Studies in Vancouver, Canada. Six months into my program, on September 13, 2017, I suffered a spinal cord injury at my L2/L3 due to a rare disease called cauda equina syndrome. I was rushed into emergency surgery, but unfortunately the damage was already done, and I was left a paraplegic.

As I was finishing my two months of inpatient rehabilitation, my therapists suggested that I connect with Triumph Foundation. Triumph Foundation visited me in the hospital and brought me their care backpack full of resources. They also provided me with...

After spending 15 years as a non-profit attorney and 10 years as an overseas missionary, I returned to North American to pursue a Master’s in Theological Studies in Vancouver, Canada. Six months into my program, on September 13, 2017, I suffered a spinal cord injury at my L2/L3 due to a rare disease called cauda equina syndrome. I was rushed into emergency surgery, but unfortunately the damage was already done, and I was left a paraplegic.

As I was finishing my two months of inpatient rehabilitation, my therapists suggested that I connect with Triumph Foundation. Triumph Foundation visited me in the hospital and brought me their care backpack full of resources. They also provided me with a grant to purchase hand controls so that I could begin driving again and regain some of my independence. Triumph gave me a forum to learn from experts, receive peer support, and make friends with those who understood what I was going through. I currently am a part of the St. Jude Support Group in Fullerton, CA and do hospital visits for the newly injured. I am also returning to school and starting my own consulting practice.

Jason Johnson
Ambassador
Bio

I had a snowboarding accident on April 17, 2019, during which I broke 21 ribs and suffered a L1 burst fracture. I was airlifted to Renown Hospital in Reno for emergency treatment. I was transferred to St. John’s Hospital in Oxnard for rehabilitation. Once out of hospital, still wearing a back brace, I began teaching CPR classes again. Since my discharge I’ve continued to make progress.

I returned to work on February 18, 2020, in the position of “Recreation and Ocean Safety Supervisor” where I am responsible for managing the Lifeguard/Jr Lifeguard Programs for the City of Port Hueneme. I also facilitate food delivery to home-bound seniors in our community.

Triumph i...

I had a snowboarding accident on April 17, 2019, during which I broke 21 ribs and suffered a L1 burst fracture. I was airlifted to Renown Hospital in Reno for emergency treatment. I was transferred to St. John’s Hospital in Oxnard for rehabilitation. Once out of hospital, still wearing a back brace, I began teaching CPR classes again. Since my discharge I’ve continued to make progress.

I returned to work on February 18, 2020, in the position of “Recreation and Ocean Safety Supervisor” where I am responsible for managing the Lifeguard/Jr Lifeguard Programs for the City of Port Hueneme. I also facilitate food delivery to home-bound seniors in our community.

Triumph is a passion of mine because while I was in the hospital, Andrew Greenbaum visited me and spent some time talking about his experience with spinal injury. Triumph also lent me a loaner chair which allowed me a significant level of independence while I worked with insurance to get a chair that I could load in/out of my car on my own. The level of support offered in the SCI groups is powerful. Regardless of level of injury, the impact on a person’s life is significant and having a group to share stories of daily struggles allows all of us to triumph over our injury.

David Juarez
Ambassador

I’m 30 years young from Los Angeles. I was injured on August 9, 2014; due to a gunshot and was declared a T-9 complete. Since my injury, I have found new ways of coping with life and the struggles it has brought. I spend my time doing art, screen printing, and am a freelance graphic designer. Staying active has helped me in many ways to find peace within myself and bring it to those around me. I have always been a person that likes to give back with nothing in return, which is why Triumph has given me the confidence to bring more awareness to my community and help others that are in need of guidance and motivation.

I’m 30 years young from Los Angeles. I was injured on August 9, 2014; due to a gunshot and was declared a T-9 complete. Since my injury, I have found new ways of coping with life and the struggles it has brought. I spend my time doing art, screen printing, and am a freelance graphic designer. Staying active has helped me in many ways to find peace within myself and bring it to those around me. I have always been a person that likes to give back with nothing in return, which is why Triumph has given me the confidence to bring more awareness to my community and help others that are in need of guidance and motivation.

Julienne Dallara
Ambassador
Bio

Julienne Dallara is an actor/singer/dancer who woke up paralyzed in 1996 from Transverse Myelitis. At the time her daughter was 3 years old and her son was 7 months, so being in a wheelchair was a challenge. Divorce followed, and she supported her family by selling accessible vehicles. Doing this, she met her husband of 20 years, another wheelchair-user with post-polio. In 2012, Julienne was approached by the Abilities Expo to help produce this chain of National trade shows for disability products. Working there is a joy; fulfilling her need to help others while still allowing her to exercise her passion for gardening and creating fine art. Julienne started her own non-profit, Volunteer AIDS Massag...

Julienne Dallara is an actor/singer/dancer who woke up paralyzed in 1996 from Transverse Myelitis. At the time her daughter was 3 years old and her son was 7 months, so being in a wheelchair was a challenge. Divorce followed, and she supported her family by selling accessible vehicles. Doing this, she met her husband of 20 years, another wheelchair-user with post-polio. In 2012, Julienne was approached by the Abilities Expo to help produce this chain of National trade shows for disability products. Working there is a joy; fulfilling her need to help others while still allowing her to exercise her passion for gardening and creating fine art. Julienne started her own non-profit, Volunteer AIDS Massage Project (VAMP) in 1989, was a Peer Counselor for WYNGS from 1998-2007, and a Triumph Ambassador since its inception.

Andy Zirzow
Ambassador

I was 51 years old at the time of my C6-C7 spinal cord injury as a result of a mountain bike accident in 2017. I continue to work hard in rehabilitation therapy 4-5 days a week and some specialized private rehabilitation to maximize my recovery and try to regain the ability to walk. I enjoy being involved with Triumph in my region, and meeting newly injured inpatients. I’ve pursued many adaptive sports recreation events including hand-cycling, wheelchair rugby and adaptive water sports in attempts to improve my quality of life.

I was 51 years old at the time of my C6-C7 spinal cord injury as a result of a mountain bike accident in 2017. I continue to work hard in rehabilitation therapy 4-5 days a week and some specialized private rehabilitation to maximize my recovery and try to regain the ability to walk. I enjoy being involved with Triumph in my region, and meeting newly injured inpatients. I’ve pursued many adaptive sports recreation events including hand-cycling, wheelchair rugby and adaptive water sports in attempts to improve my quality of life.

Mickie Fowler
Ambassador
Bio

My name is Michelle Fowler, but I go by the name Mickie. In 1984, as a young married mom of two kids, Paul, age 4 and Joy, 18 months, one weekend, my husband Doug and I joined some friends from our home in Claremont, Ca. to visit a place called Glamis, near the Arizona border. It is a huge desert area with many sand dunes known for riding recreational vehicles. Our friends had All Terrain Cycles (ATC) so I spent a few hours getting used to this new experience (not knowing how unsafe they could be).

About mid-afternoon, while riding this three-wheeled cycle by myself, I was going down a not-too-steep dune at a low speed when suddenly I lost control, panicked, and not knowing what to do to gai...

My name is Michelle Fowler, but I go by the name Mickie. In 1984, as a young married mom of two kids, Paul, age 4 and Joy, 18 months, one weekend, my husband Doug and I joined some friends from our home in Claremont, Ca. to visit a place called Glamis, near the Arizona border. It is a huge desert area with many sand dunes known for riding recreational vehicles. Our friends had All Terrain Cycles (ATC) so I spent a few hours getting used to this new experience (not knowing how unsafe they could be).

About mid-afternoon, while riding this three-wheeled cycle by myself, I was going down a not-too-steep dune at a low speed when suddenly I lost control, panicked, and not knowing what to do to gain back control, just let go and was thrown off, landing so hard on the sand I actually remember hearing a cracking sound and then feeling a sensation (like when you hit your funny bone on your elbow) in my back.

Doug, who had been riding ahead of me, turned around and seeing me on the ground with my leg twisted, asked if I was ok and if I broke my leg. I told him I couldn’t even feel my leg, then he leaned over and felt my back and could feel a lump. We knew it was serious and our friends called for emergency help. I was conscious the entire time and remember having a military helicopter, I think called a Huey, transport me on a gurney to the local hospital in Yuma, Arizona.

After a quick assessment in the ER that I had no other injuries other than possible paralysis. I was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix and, after my diagnosis of a T-11 SCI, I had to have surgery to place long steel rods along my spine to stabilize it.

While there for about ten days to heal in a bed that would rotate me to relieve pressure on my paralyzed body, I was flown to Pomona, Ca. in a small plane owned by a friend. From there, I was taken by ambulance to Casa Colina Rehabilitation Hospital and, after getting over the shock of being in a room with five men, began my new “normal” life of learning how to live in a wheelchair.

Three months later, I was discharged, continued therapy, learned to drive, bought a van and resumed my life as a wife, mother, and also had another baby, Adam, born in 1986.

I stayed active by volunteering at their schools, serving in my church, and eventually got a part-time job working for a CPA.

Now, 36 years later, after traveling to many places (including several cruises), I’m enjoying retirement, being involved with the Triumph Foundation and mostly loving being a Grandma!

Todd Younger
Ambassador
Bio

I have been in a wheelchair for 53 years. I had an allergic reaction to Penicillin when I was 3 years old. I was diagnosed with a central nervous system injury. I am a mixed-level quadriplegic. I have full use of my left arm, however that is the only limb I can use. I met Janette Knudson at a Christmas party many years ago, where I first learned about the organization called WYNGS that eventually went on to become Triumph Foundation. About 3 or 4 years ago, I was reintroduced to Triumph when I moved into a house with Nathan and Katelyn, who were involved with Triumph support groups. About 2.5 years ago, I went through the Triumph Ambassador training but soon after that I was in the hospital. My hop...

I have been in a wheelchair for 53 years. I had an allergic reaction to Penicillin when I was 3 years old. I was diagnosed with a central nervous system injury. I am a mixed-level quadriplegic. I have full use of my left arm, however that is the only limb I can use. I met Janette Knudson at a Christmas party many years ago, where I first learned about the organization called WYNGS that eventually went on to become Triumph Foundation. About 3 or 4 years ago, I was reintroduced to Triumph when I moved into a house with Nathan and Katelyn, who were involved with Triumph support groups. About 2.5 years ago, I went through the Triumph Ambassador training but soon after that I was in the hospital. My hope for the future is to be more involved with Triumph Foundation and to mentor other individuals.

I’ve learned over the years that it is important to be yourself, to communicate with other people, take that extra step, and get outside your comfort zone. A big part of what I’ve found in my life, is to get involved with people who are not in wheelchairs to break down the stigma around disability. It is important for others to see us living life to the same extent and that we have goals and want to be productive members of society.

Things that bring me joy: nature, baseball, music, movies, serving others, and good conversations.

Bob Decourcey
Ambassador
Bio

I was involved in a car accident in the early morning in January 2009. I suffered an L2, L3, L4 spinal cord injury which resulted in me being a paraplegic. I have a very supportive family and friends who helped tremendously with the daily struggles of SCI life. I was very active in sports and recreational activities before my injury and wanted to continue.

I discovered the Triumph Foundation at the Abilities Expo and was invited to participate in the Wheelchair Sports Festival. There, I was introduced to various activities, including over the line and hand cycling. I met some awesome people in the Triumph family and knew I wanted to become involved, somehow. As a Triumph Ambassador I have le...

I was involved in a car accident in the early morning in January 2009. I suffered an L2, L3, L4 spinal cord injury which resulted in me being a paraplegic. I have a very supportive family and friends who helped tremendously with the daily struggles of SCI life. I was very active in sports and recreational activities before my injury and wanted to continue.

I discovered the Triumph Foundation at the Abilities Expo and was invited to participate in the Wheelchair Sports Festival. There, I was introduced to various activities, including over the line and hand cycling. I met some awesome people in the Triumph family and knew I wanted to become involved, somehow. As a Triumph Ambassador I have learned I can help others navigate some of the struggles that they may face and continue to live a full and active life.

Irwin Gill
Ambassador

I am a T11 paraplegic from a motorcycle accident in late 2017. I use a manual wheelchair and do not let it get in the way of living a fulfilling and fun life. I have gone hiking, kayaking, road tripping, and traveling myself while being in a wheelchair and it honestly has not affected my definition of having fun! I want to be a Triumph Foundation Ambassador because I believe with a positive outlook, there are many things in life that are still able to be accomplished while being in a wheelchair.

I am a T11 paraplegic from a motorcycle accident in late 2017. I use a manual wheelchair and do not let it get in the way of living a fulfilling and fun life. I have gone hiking, kayaking, road tripping, and traveling myself while being in a wheelchair and it honestly has not affected my definition of having fun! I want to be a Triumph Foundation Ambassador because I believe with a positive outlook, there are many things in life that are still able to be accomplished while being in a wheelchair.

Tony Thogmartin
Ambassador

I had a T12 spinal cord injury in 2017 due to a snowboarding accident. I have always loved action sports, and after my injury started skating in wheelchair WCMX and have competed all over the US. I want to show people that just because you go through something difficult doesn’t mean life has to stop or slow down, you just find a different way of doing it. Triumph has given me that avenue showing thousands of people that life is not over after your injury.

I had a T12 spinal cord injury in 2017 due to a snowboarding accident. I have always loved action sports, and after my injury started skating in wheelchair WCMX and have competed all over the US. I want to show people that just because you go through something difficult doesn’t mean life has to stop or slow down, you just find a different way of doing it. Triumph has given me that avenue showing thousands of people that life is not over after your injury.

Mark Richards
Ambassador

I’ve been attending the Northridge SCI Support Group for a decade, taking notes and posting them to our private Facebook page for those who can’t attend. My service dog Logan has been the group’s mascot spreading love to all who attend. We volunteered at Henry Mayo hospital visiting and cheering up patients. It has been a pleasure watching Triumph grow from an idea, to an action, to a movement, and I’m proud to be apart of it.

I’ve been attending the Northridge SCI Support Group for a decade, taking notes and posting them to our private Facebook page for those who can’t attend. My service dog Logan has been the group’s mascot spreading love to all who attend. We volunteered at Henry Mayo hospital visiting and cheering up patients. It has been a pleasure watching Triumph grow from an idea, to an action, to a movement, and I’m proud to be apart of it.

Hobal Grajeda
Ambassador
Bio

On November 23, 2008; I was in a motorcycle accident and sustained a complete spinal cord injury at T6 as well as a brachial plexus injury on my left shoulder where I lost function of my left arm. Losing the use of my left arm was the hardest thing for me to overcome. I knew that I could have a normal life after being paralyzed, but I didn’t know what I was or wasn’t going to be able to do as a paraplegic with only one arm.

During the first two years after my injury, my main focus was a mixture of rehabilitation, learning about spinal cord injuries, and trying to become as independent as I could possibly be. I also got married to the girl who was my girlfriend before I was injured. When ...

On November 23, 2008; I was in a motorcycle accident and sustained a complete spinal cord injury at T6 as well as a brachial plexus injury on my left shoulder where I lost function of my left arm. Losing the use of my left arm was the hardest thing for me to overcome. I knew that I could have a normal life after being paralyzed, but I didn’t know what I was or wasn’t going to be able to do as a paraplegic with only one arm.

During the first two years after my injury, my main focus was a mixture of rehabilitation, learning about spinal cord injuries, and trying to become as independent as I could possibly be. I also got married to the girl who was my girlfriend before I was injured. When I left rehab, I was using a power chair, but I always wanted to use a manual chair. Luckily, a year and a half after my injury, a friend told me about a manual chair that I could use with one arm and I have been using that ever since.

After that, I went back to school and studied TV/Film production and photography at Fullerton College. I have worked at Rancho Los Amigos Rehabilitation Hospital since November 2015 in the research department and enrolled outpatients into the wellness center to promote a healthier and more active lifestyle for people with spinal cord injuries. I’m also a peer mentor supporting individuals who have sustained spinal cord injuries.  I received a diploma as a legal interpreter/translator from Cal State Fullerton and I’m working on becoming a state certified legal interpreter.

Once I met Triumph Foundation and saw what they do I knew I had to apart of it. I went to the Ambassador training conference, got certified and i’m proud to say I am now a grateful Triumph Ambassador.

E'van Petros
Ambassador

When I was 17 months old, I contracted Poliomyelitis, aka Polio, which caused me to become paralyzed from the neck down. Throughout years of rehabilitation and numerous surgeries I gained some feeling and movement but not enough to stand. I became a Triumph Ambassador in 2018, because I had amazing people with disabilities supporting me through my journey in life and wanted to do the same for others.  I’m a single mom of two, a World of Dance Fitness Cardio Instructor, and a Ballroom dancer with Wheelchair Dancers Organization.

When I was 17 months old, I contracted Poliomyelitis, aka Polio, which caused me to become paralyzed from the neck down. Throughout years of rehabilitation and numerous surgeries I gained some feeling and movement but not enough to stand. I became a Triumph Ambassador in 2018, because I had amazing people with disabilities supporting me through my journey in life and wanted to do the same for others.  I’m a single mom of two, a World of Dance Fitness Cardio Instructor, and a Ballroom dancer with Wheelchair Dancers Organization.

Darryl Parker
Ambassador
Bio

I was in a car accident back in 2006, suffering a C4-5 incomplete spinal cord injury. I was in the hospital for nine months and was very depressed. I could not face the reality that I was paralyzed. I went to Casa Colina for outpatient therapy and that’s where I found out about the SCI support group. I was amazed by their stories and I met other people with my same level of injury and that changed my perspective of life. Bobby Rohan invited me to a support group at Rancho Los Amigos, and after attending numerous meetings he asked me if I wanted to join the peer mentor program and I said YES! Blessings kept coming; I started to be more active in the community and that’s when I met Andrew Skinner...

I was in a car accident back in 2006, suffering a C4-5 incomplete spinal cord injury. I was in the hospital for nine months and was very depressed. I could not face the reality that I was paralyzed. I went to Casa Colina for outpatient therapy and that’s where I found out about the SCI support group. I was amazed by their stories and I met other people with my same level of injury and that changed my perspective of life. Bobby Rohan invited me to a support group at Rancho Los Amigos, and after attending numerous meetings he asked me if I wanted to join the peer mentor program and I said YES! Blessings kept coming; I started to be more active in the community and that’s when I met Andrew Skinner. We became really good friends, I wanted to help Triumph Foundation and I joined their Ambassador training program.

I always wanted to help others that had suffered an injury like mine. I went to visit a patient in a nursing home who was going through depression. I told him life is hard but is up to us to make the choice to be happy, we stayed in touch and we were able to get him home again and leading a productive life. That’s when I knew my purpose and I’m blessed to be an Ambassador. One of the highlights after my injury was in 2019, I went skydiving! Yes! A C4-C5 Quadriplegic. My message is to anybody who has a disability is that anything is possible, we just have to do things differently.

Robert Soto
Ambassador
Bio

I was injured in a motorcycle racing accident in 1974 and now have a T12 SCI. Here is a brief snapshot of part of my life after paralysis.

After my injury and rehab, I returned to college in 1975 to continue my education as well as working part-time. I participated in various wheelchair sports and started a basketball team which I was part of for a couple of years. Later, I had an opportunity for a role in a movie titled “Coming Home.” I took a break from school to work in the film. Once completed, I returned to school and work. I graduated with my degree and was now ready to start the next chapter of my life.

As the years progressed, I got married and, unfortunately, divorced som...

I was injured in a motorcycle racing accident in 1974 and now have a T12 SCI. Here is a brief snapshot of part of my life after paralysis.

After my injury and rehab, I returned to college in 1975 to continue my education as well as working part-time. I participated in various wheelchair sports and started a basketball team which I was part of for a couple of years. Later, I had an opportunity for a role in a movie titled “Coming Home.” I took a break from school to work in the film. Once completed, I returned to school and work. I graduated with my degree and was now ready to start the next chapter of my life.

As the years progressed, I got married and, unfortunately, divorced some years later. I found myself attending grad school and moving up the corporate ladder.

Fast forward to recent years, I finally retired after 40+ years from a hard and rewarding career. In 2018, I met Andrew and Triumph Foundation. After all the years of non-involvement with the disability community since the first years of my injury, it was a good feeling getting reacquainted and involved (with the community) once again. In addition to being a Triumph Ambassador, I am also a Peer Mentor at Rancho Los Amigos. It has been an interesting and joyous ride of life’s ups and downs. My journey continues as I am enjoying another chapter in my life of giving back, building new friendships, and being part of the Triumph Foundation family and community.

Matt Vico
Ambassador

I fell off a building on October 13, 2005; receiving a C7-T1 SCI. I worked as an Inclusive Recreation Assistant at CSU Long Beach while getting my master’s degree, teaching and promoting inclusive sports to students and staff. I have been deeply involved in the adaptive rowing program in Long Beach, which is my favorite inclusive sport. I am a Triumph Ambassador with the hopes of helping others with disabilities to continue to live life to the fullest and know about all of the resources that are available to help them achieve their goals.

I fell off a building on October 13, 2005; receiving a C7-T1 SCI. I worked as an Inclusive Recreation Assistant at CSU Long Beach while getting my master’s degree, teaching and promoting inclusive sports to students and staff. I have been deeply involved in the adaptive rowing program in Long Beach, which is my favorite inclusive sport. I am a Triumph Ambassador with the hopes of helping others with disabilities to continue to live life to the fullest and know about all of the resources that are available to help them achieve their goals.

Cindy Navarro
Ambassador
Bio

In August of 2013, I had a 12+ hour brain tumor surgery and was fortunate enough to come out of it without complications. As years passed, I started to decline physically, to the point I could no longer walk. At first, they thought it was a possible side effect from the surgery. After numerous tests I came to find that I also had an Arachnoid Web throughout my spinal cord. On January 15, 2018, I was also diagnosed with having Relapse Remitting Multiple Sclerosis.

Since then I keep myself active both physically and mentally. I go to the gym, as well as play sports including WCMX and Rugby. I enjoy computer networking, as well as reading in my spare time. I love helping others because It build...

In August of 2013, I had a 12+ hour brain tumor surgery and was fortunate enough to come out of it without complications. As years passed, I started to decline physically, to the point I could no longer walk. At first, they thought it was a possible side effect from the surgery. After numerous tests I came to find that I also had an Arachnoid Web throughout my spinal cord. On January 15, 2018, I was also diagnosed with having Relapse Remitting Multiple Sclerosis.

Since then I keep myself active both physically and mentally. I go to the gym, as well as play sports including WCMX and Rugby. I enjoy computer networking, as well as reading in my spare time. I love helping others because It builds stronger social connections to friends. I know it can be hard to go through something like SCI/D alone and bringing hope to them for a better tomorrow is fulfilling. I am honored to be an ambassador of Triumph giving hope to others when they first get a SCI/D and help them get started on their new life.

Michael Harris
Ambassador
Bio

I sustained a C6-7 Incomplete SCI on January 23, 2006. I can honestly say that I’ve done more with my life in the past 14 years than I did in the 32 years I lived before my injury. I’ve traveled the world, went skydiving, tried archery, went skiing, and learned how to appreciate each day that I am given! I’ve always been a techie who loves to work with his hands, and person who enjoys entertaining and being around my friends and family. When I was initially injured, I learned how to cope with this life changing event all by myself. Is it doable? Yes. Is it necessary or even recommended? Not at all? No two SCIs are the same, yet our struggles and challenges are. I am a social person who loves ...

I sustained a C6-7 Incomplete SCI on January 23, 2006. I can honestly say that I’ve done more with my life in the past 14 years than I did in the 32 years I lived before my injury. I’ve traveled the world, went skydiving, tried archery, went skiing, and learned how to appreciate each day that I am given! I’ve always been a techie who loves to work with his hands, and person who enjoys entertaining and being around my friends and family. When I was initially injured, I learned how to cope with this life changing event all by myself. Is it doable? Yes. Is it necessary or even recommended? Not at all? No two SCIs are the same, yet our struggles and challenges are. I am a social person who loves to help and give support to those in need that’s why I became a Triumph Ambassador.

Andrew Greenbaum
Ambassador
Bio

My name is Andrew Greenbaum. In January of 2008 I had a snowboarding accident where I sustained a T6 complete spinal cord injury. Since then I’ve been building the life I want and strive daily to choose happiness. I’ve completed undergraduate and graduate degrees, excelled in the pharmaceutical industry, and traveled to over 15 countries with friends and on my own. I enjoy playing guitar, singing, meditation, psychology, and spending time with family and friends.

Self-care and love are sometimes difficult for people, especially after a traumatic injury. My professional and personal life goal is to grow this capacity for all people through mindful awareness and authentic connection so we ...

My name is Andrew Greenbaum. In January of 2008 I had a snowboarding accident where I sustained a T6 complete spinal cord injury. Since then I’ve been building the life I want and strive daily to choose happiness. I’ve completed undergraduate and graduate degrees, excelled in the pharmaceutical industry, and traveled to over 15 countries with friends and on my own. I enjoy playing guitar, singing, meditation, psychology, and spending time with family and friends.

Self-care and love are sometimes difficult for people, especially after a traumatic injury. My professional and personal life goal is to grow this capacity for all people through mindful awareness and authentic connection so we can all live happier and healthier lives. Triumph Foundation helped me realize that goal.

David Washington
Ambassador

My name is David Washington I was injured in a car accident in January 8, 1993. I was 17 years old. My level of injury is L1-L2 incomplete paraplegic. Since my injury I have gotten my bachelor’s degree from Calarts in character animation and I have worked in live action films. I am a painter and I love expressing myself through painting and I am also a film maker working on my first film.

The reason why I am an Triumph Ambassador is because when I was injured someone help me during that difficult time so I am passing it forward to help the newly injured.

My name is David Washington I was injured in a car accident in January 8, 1993. I was 17 years old. My level of injury is L1-L2 incomplete paraplegic. Since my injury I have gotten my bachelor’s degree from Calarts in character animation and I have worked in live action films. I am a painter and I love expressing myself through painting and I am also a film maker working on my first film.

The reason why I am an Triumph Ambassador is because when I was injured someone help me during that difficult time so I am passing it forward to help the newly injured.

Cecilia Villarruel
Ambassador

I was in a car accident and sustained a C6-7 incomplete Spinal Cord Injury. I am a UC Berkeley alum, and a Physician Assistant currently working in outpatient neurology. I decided on a career in medicine because I wanted to help others like me flourish and joining Triumph is another avenue to that end, bridging the gap in our society between what is needed and what is available for those of us who have a disability to achieve our dreams, focusing on the importance of community resources for medical needs unfulfilled by insurance, and social networking through adaptive sports building a community of people with disabilities living to their fullest potential.

I was in a car accident and sustained a C6-7 incomplete Spinal Cord Injury. I am a UC Berkeley alum, and a Physician Assistant currently working in outpatient neurology. I decided on a career in medicine because I wanted to help others like me flourish and joining Triumph is another avenue to that end, bridging the gap in our society between what is needed and what is available for those of us who have a disability to achieve our dreams, focusing on the importance of community resources for medical needs unfulfilled by insurance, and social networking through adaptive sports building a community of people with disabilities living to their fullest potential.

Davy Lin
Ambassador
Nick Tomaszewski
Ambassador
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