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  • Jeremy Raeszler

Sled Season

A short time after my accident in 2008, when I suffered my spinal cord injury (SCI), I decided that if things were going to get better, I would have to work for it. When I was first learning to stand, I used to wheel my chair up to a table, plant my hands flat on top, and push down with all my might so I could rise out of the wheelchair. I would fatigue rather quickly at the start. Not knowing what would come of it, I kept doing this over and over and over. As time passed, it got easier, and I could lean against the table for longer periods and eventually even started to bear some weight on my legs. After a couple of months, this routine grew tedious and almost boring, so I turned to Dr. Google for advice on how to make my legs stronger, and that's when sleds popped up.

I knew I couldn't pull a traditional sled, but I thought to myself, "If I can now stand leaning against a table, could I perhaps push the table and try to 'walk' with it?" And that's how the Razzleberry version of Sled Season was born. I purchased a sheet of steel, a couple of lengths of galvanized pipe (similar to chain-link fence posts), and four casters. I built a heavy steel table in my garage and welded the casters to it. This became my sled, and I taught myself to walk with its assistance. I defied what I had been told were my limitations by pushing this table across my garage floor, back and forth, repeatedly.

As it became easier, I added weight to the table—anything I could find in the garage, such as Rubbermaid containers filled with holiday decorations, tools, and more.

The moral of the story is that you can overcome challenging obstacles with determination and hard work.

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