Imagine rappelling off the side of the 310 foot-tall Sheraton Waikīkī Hotel. Now imagine performing that same feat in a wheelchair. Damon Boiser did just that to support the Special Olympics.
“Damon raised $1200 for Special Olympics Hawaiʻi, which is fantastic. It goes a long way to helping us provide year-round sports training and competition for our 3500 Special Olympics athletes. But also, Damon obviously is an inspiration to a lot of folks. He is overcoming challenges everyday, overcoming his fears, and it was amazing watching him in a wheelchair come over today,” said Dan Epstein, Vice President of Sports for Special Olympics Hawaiʻi.
“The whole reason that I do everything that I do is to inspire the children of tomorrow. I mean the children are our future,” said Boiser.
As a child, Damon grew up loving the outdoors, but a freak accident while enjoying the outdoors left Damon paralyzed.
“I was with a friend, we were at the ocean and we dove into shallow water,” said Boiser.
He hit his head on the rock, shattering one of his vertebrae, immediately paralyzing him from the chest down. After his friend pulled him out of the water, emergency personnel medivac-ed him to Oʻahu.
“For me, that was the hardest part, was the medivac. Because flying over from Kona to Oʻahu, it’s about an hour and a half, about an hour and 20 minutes. You had that much time to think like, ‘Wow, I can’t move my toes. Wow, I’m itchy, or am I itchy?’ And you just had to come to terms with it right away,” said Boiser.
After eleven years and many trials and tribulations, Damon has picked himself back up. He is the first quadriplegic to tandem skydive and land in his wheelchair. He has helped to create a designated wheelchair division in the Shotokan Karate-Do tournament, and is now working on becoming the first quadriplegic to transverse the surface of the moon in a wheelchair.
“Anything is possible,” said Boiser.
Damon has posted many YouTube videos that share his extraordinary skills and experiences as a quadriplegic. He is now developing three pilot programs that would help others with disabilities to live a more independent life.
“Social awareness, I mean, that is actually your starting point. You need to feel very confident and very handsome and very beautiful, if you feel like that and you’re walking down the street, you feel like a million bucks. How can you fail at getting a great job, buying a car, owning a business? So we kind of need a hub here in Hawaiʻi where you go to one place and you find all your opportunities for development in life and you can just really excel,” said Boiser.
To help Damon with his efforts to spread awareness and to learn more about him, you can follow him on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (@damonboiser) or contact him directly via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).