SCI Superstar: Ethan Ruby


“A man with a plan.” This is Ethan Ruby summed up in five words. He’s a rock star entrepreneur from New York City who’s founded several non-profits, is president of the NYC chapter of the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, a public speaker and his latest title – inventor of SCI gadgets. And on top of all that, he’s a pro-poker player.

Being hit by a car at age 25 while he was crossing the street (legally) in Manhattan may have been how he ended up in a chair, but now at 38 years old – Ethan has bounced back and become the successful businessman and go-getter he was destined to be. And he’s got the dedicated husband and father thing down pat too.

Why he’s fearless

Ethan’s whole life changed when – 3 years after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania (while forging a career for himself as a day-trader on Wall Street) – he became paralyzed. But he didn’t go back into trading. Instead, did something awesome and used his finance and business skills to found a series of what he calls, “Ethan Ruby’s Positive Energy Projects.”

One of the first non-profits he created was in 2006 – Poker4Life, an incredibly cool non-profit that puts on a poker tournament in NYC each year. They’ve raised over $1 million since its founding and all the money raised goes to the Miami Project. Ethan is a big time poker player himself and has won over $50,000 playing on the pro level. Here’s a video showing their most recent tournament

And he didn’t stop there. Ethan went on to found Wearable Collections, a clothing recycling org that sets up recycle bins for used clothing in apartment complexes. Very green and popular now days, but this is something they’ve been doing way before green was in. He also founded City Streets, a website offering cleaner, cheaper transportation solutions for New Yorkers, as well as gooder(z), a site that lets you donate to a charity every time you shop, and Give Good Get, an interactive NYC map where people can track/register random acts of kindness.

And his latest business endeavor is Wheel Comfort, a for-profit business selling an interchangeable footrest cover that lets wheelchair-users go barefoot safely (without nicking their feet; finally!). I really want one of these. Check it out, Wheel Comfort

What’s next?

But business isn’t Ethan’s whole life. He’s also a husband, father and a passionate motivational speaker. He speaks at elementary schools, high schools and colleges on topics such as living with SCI, overcoming adversity and the key components to leading a happy and meaningful life.

And another really cool thing about Ethan is his unbelievably romantic relationship with his wife of 7 years, Julie. They met before his injury while in college in 1997, but they had such a strong connection they made it through one of the hardest things a relationship can go through – a SCI. There were married in 2006 and thanks to artificial insemination, they now have an adorable 6 year old son (pic).

Through his several society-enhancing foundations and his motivational speaking, Ethan Ruby is a proven game-changer. He’s come back from one of the biggest trials the human body can go through, and continues creating, forging ahead and living life to the fullest.

Visit Ethan Ruby’s official site

Have you attended a Poker4Life event? What non-profits of Ethan Ruby’s have you been affected by?

Watch the videos!

Ethan Ruby speaking at the 2010 Poker4Life event

Ethan Ruby hosting a celebrity poker event

Ethan Ruby at a Poker4Life event speaking with former New York Senator Sen. Alfonse D’Amato

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