A product of the die-hard hockey world in the northeast U.S., Travis Roy grew up loving hockey, and after he became paralyzed while playing hockey for Boston University, he’s been committed to doing everything possible to not only improve his situation, but the situation of others like him.
He’s put on many hats to make his reality. Travis founded a nonprofit dedicated to finding a cure for spinal cord injury (as well as raise money to support people living with a spinal cord injury), he’s written a memoir, he’s become a mouth painter and he’s gone on to become a popular motivational speaker.
For a peek into the life of someone who inspires big time, read on for the impressive story of Travis Roy.
Why he’s fearless
Born in Yarmouth, Maine, Travis Roy was raised in an athletic family. By the time he was 20 months old, he was already on his first pair of skates, and he was displaying a natural talent for the sport as well. Travis loved everything about it, from the sound of the skates grinding into the ice to the camaraderie. It was no surprise he had his eyes set on becoming a college hockey player at Boston university.
Growing up in this part of the country, every boy who plays hockey dreams of playing for Boston University, so making the team with a big deal, but his first (and only) season for the team was in 1995; his freshman year. During his first game while trying to check a player, the player moved and Travis ended up hitting his head on the check boards, breaking his C4-5 vertebrae in the process.
He knew right away he was permanently paralyzed, and it was a huge blow for the team, his family and the greater Boston hockey community. Travis has been able to recover some movement over the years, such as the ability to move his right arm, but he is still quite dependent on others, and it was this that spurred him to found the Travis Roy Foundation in 1997.
To-date, the foundation has raised over $3.5 million. Half of the funds they receive go directly to spinal cord injury research projects, and the other half helps with the quality of life for people with spinal cord injuries in the area, from buying them home lifts so they can live independently to buying rehab equipment for the new Project Walk facility in Boston.
After his injury, Travis also went back to college and in 1997 he wrote a book titled 11 Seconds That Changed My Life, where he discusses his injury and life after his injury. It definitely takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there in a book, and Travis Roy certainly has it.
In addition to running his foundation, the Travis is also an esteemed speaker, speaking on motivational issues at corporations, schools and conferences, helping to spread the message about perseverance and the importance of attitude. Check out his speaking website
The Travis Roy Foundation is going strong as well. Recently, they wrapped up their annual fundraiser Spring Fling, and they’re busy finalizing the touches on their fundraisers for the spring and summer as well. There’s just no stopping Travis, the his foundation, or the hockey community.
Who knows when the cure will arrive, but in the meantime, Travis has figured out how to strike a perfect balance – helping himself and others – and Boston thanks to him for it.
– Visit his site: Travis Roy Foundation
Have you heard Travis Roy speak?
Watch the videos