Adriane-

Adriane ultimate goal is to do five different long-distance swims in five different oceans by the time she is 50. By spring of 2010 she will have completed three oceans. Adriane was born missing her right hand. In 2006, with no professional training, she swam from the Caribbean island of Bonaire to a smaller island, Klein Bonaire. The water temperature was 80 degrees, and the distance was about 1½ miles. swam it in 45 minutes. "I hired a boat to follow me, just in case the ocean's current carried me to Venezuela," she says.

The next year, she went back to the beautiful island of Bonaire, wanting to do something more adventurous. She decided to swim around Klein Bonaire (8 miles), again, with no formal training – just another boat she hired to follow her. The swim took her 5½ hours. “It was the longest snorkel I ever had. I saw some amazing fish, swam with turtles, a blacktip reef shark, jellyfish and large and small fish,” she recalls. “Afterwards, I took a few Advils and slept 12 hours and I was fine.” Now, she is gearing up for her first Pacific swim, this time in cold water. She will participate in the swim portion of a triathlon named “Escape from Alcatraz.” That’s right – Al Capone’s Alcatraz! She’ll swim 1½ miles from Alcatraz to the San Francisco mainland in strong currents of 55-62 degree water – water that can also be shark territory. She’ll wear a 7-millimeter wetsuit and snorkel fins on her feet. Although she can type 45 wpm, play volleyball, tie shoes and even do cartwheels, she says that the fins will help her compensate for her missing hand. She, who lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, is not able to train in cold water, given that summer temperatures where she lives can be as high as 116 degrees. “Swimming Alcatraz will be a great physical and mental challenge for me,” she says. To get ready for the challenge, Adriane has been training in Bartlett Lake, about 45 minutes from Scottsdale. She also trains at the local swimming pool where she has been swimming 2 miles once a week since June. “My father was a ship captain, so I think I got my sense of adventure and love of the ocean from his side,” she states. “I wasn't really a swimmer until my husband took me on his scuba diving trips, where I snorkeled,” she says. “On these trips, I usually end up swimming about 3 miles each day while he scuba dives.” Perhaps what’s even more amazing about Adriane’s swimming adventures is that she finds the time to keep at it while also running the group Special Blessings, a support group for Arizona families that have children with a limb difference (their Web site can be found at members.cox.net/sbaz). She also started The Sewing Project to Help Foster Kids, a unique project that began after the s became foster parents. When the kids arrived at their home, their belongings came in trash bags. Adriane thought that sent the wrong message to the kids, so she organized a service project to sew kid-friendly pillowcases with a drawstring and backpack straps to give to Child Protective Services. Her goal of getting 300 kid-friendly pillowcases was greatly surpassed: She has received 2,575 pillowcases to date. If you’d like to help with this project, please contact Adriane at ah5150@ yahoo.com. “I’ve never let being born with one hand slow me down. It’s all about attitude. If you set your mind to it, you can achieve it,” she says with confidence. Kudos to Adriane for her personal and community achievements! Note: Adriane completed her Alcatraz swim in 1 hour 10 min.

Jeff Lewis- Mesa, AZ-

Prior to his amputation, Jeff was an avid bowler. During his recovery he designed a bowling "hand" that enabled him to bowl his first strike shortly after his return to the lanes.Jeff Lewis woke up the morning of April 12, 2005 thinking he had a bad case of the flu. Though he had rarely missed school in his 28 years of teaching math, he stayed home that morning. By noon his temperature was 104 degrees and he was being transported by ambulance to the emergency room. Hours later doctors were unsure what was wrong. Facing uncertainty, Jeff told Carol, his then girlfriend, that he wanted them to do everything they could to save his life. Jeff was fighting a common infection, the effort of which caused his body to shut down circulation to the limbs in order to continue providing blood to his brain, heart, and lungs. He experienced kidney failure, cardiac arrest, and was given less than a one percent chance of surviving. Jeff lost consciousness a short time later, the hours turning into days, and days into weeks. His body was struggling to fight the infection and was making gradual progress, but the continued lack of circulation to his limbs was causing another problem. Jeff’s limbs were dying. What began as a blueish tint in his hands and feet was moving further up his arms and legs, taking the life out of his limbs. While Jeff lay unconscious throughout the ordeal, Carol fought for his life. When medical professionals suggested that it was time to let him go, Carol kept fighting.Carol knew Jeff. She knew he loved life. He was active, productive, and to all who knew him, hilarious. When he wasn't teaching, he golfed, bowled, sang, danced, visited with friends, and constantly cracked jokes. She knew he would want to live. Jeff woke up after being unconscious for three weeks to discover he was in a different hospital and no longer had hands or feet. With miraculous resiliency, Jeff accepted this shocking new reality and began moving on. To everyone’s astonishment, he was smiling and making jokes within days of waking up after the amputations. Jeff was on a ventilator so he wasn't able to use his voice, but that didn’t stop him from communicating. He was using his infamously expressive, emphatic, and sometimes sarcastic facial expressions—true hallmarks of Jeff's jovial personality. Always prepared to break out into a silly song, that is exactly what Jeff did when he was finally off the ventilator and had his voice back. This is a man who is happy to be alive. He had a difficult road ahead of him, but Jeff was already talking about returning to the classroom. The next three months of hospitalization were challenging, but he met each set back with the determination to return to his normal life. Jeff started by marrying Carol while still in the hospital. He returned to teaching after only nine months from the start of his ordeal and began bowling a few months after he returned to the classroom. mathman.lewis@gmail.com www.dontworryaboutme.com

Eric Bennett-

Sport: Paralympic Archery Height: 6’0” Weight: 280 DOB: November 4th, 1973 Birthplace: Phoenix, AZ Hometown: Surprise, AZ Disability: Upper Arm Amputee Personal Profile: Although Eric has been competing internationally for just over a year, he has been shooting in archery tournaments for over 8 years. At the 2007 IPC World Championships, his first international tournament, he took 3rd place in the FITA ranking round and narrowly missed the medal stand finishing 4th overall. In a rollover car accident when he was 15, Eric lost his right arm above the elbow. At the urging of his father, he got back into archery 9 years ago. Having only one arm, Eric competed using a mouthtab for many years. Recently however, he switched to a shoulder release, a move that has already paid off. Using his new release he shot a qualifying score high enough to secure his bid for the 2008 Paralympic team. Eric is a high school physics teacher and the boy’s head tennis coach at Mountain Ridge High School in Glendale Arizona. He got his B.S. in Physical Science from Northern Arizona University and completed his Masters in Educational Supervision at Arizona State University. Eric has been married to his wife Rachel for 4 years and they have a 2 year old son named Logan. Major Achievements: •2008: Gold Medal – Endeavor Games, Edmond, OK •2008: Arizona State FITA Champion •2008: Named to the 2008 Paralympic Team •2007: 4th place at IPC World Championship – Cheonjiu, South Korea •2007: Gold Medal – National Team Round, Colorado Springs, CO •2007: Silver Medal – State Games of America, Colorado Springs, CO •2007: Gold Medal – California State Games, Chula Vista, CA. •2007: Gold Medal, Silver Medal – Endeavor Games, Edmond, OK•Current holder of 7 National Records

JIM ABBOTT -

SUMMARY:

Born, Sept. 19, 1967, in Flint, Michigan without a right hand. He was an All-America hurler at Michigan; won Sullivan Award in 1987; threw 4-0 no-hitter for NY Yankees vs. Cleveland (Sept. 4, 1993). Jim played for 10 seasons on 4 different teams and ended his big league playing career in 1999. Today, in addition to being a Guest Pitching Instructor during Spring Training for the Los Angeles Angels, Jim Abbott is a motivational speaker. Unique as a sports speaker because his story, and the way he delivers it, appeals to many types of audiences, even those who are not sports fans. In his keynotes, Jim Abbott uses motivational sports stories of how he overcame adversity, and anecdotes from his career as a professional baseball pitcher. Abbott also works with The Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) on several initiatives encouraging businesses to hire people with disabilities. For the PITCH (Proving Individuals with Talent Can Help) campaign, Jim, ODEP and Major League Baseball combine efforts to help raise awareness about the talent people with disabilities have to offer.

The Jim Abbott Story

Jim Abbott has battled the odds his entire life. Despite being born with only one hand he was the 15th player to ever make a professional debut in the Major Leagues. Many considered the move a publicity stunt by manager Doug Rader, but after struggling early, Abbott proved his doubters wrong by winning 12 games with a 3.92 ERA in his rookie season. On the mound, Abbott wore a right-hander's fielder's glove at the end of his right arm. While completing his follow-through after delivering a pitch, he rapidly switched the glove to his left hand so he could handle any balls hit back to him. In that first 1989 season as a professional he won more games as a rookie than any other previous player without Major League experience.Abbott spent hours as a youngster bouncing a ball off a wall to practice fielding as well as throwing. He was the starting quarterback on his high school football team, which went to the finals of the Michigan state championship, and he showed enough promise as a pitcher to be drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays shortly after graduation. However, Abbott went to the University of Michigan on a baseball scholarship. Abbott led the Wolverines to Big Ten titles in his freshmen and junior years and won the prestigious Golden Spikes Award, presented annually to the outstanding college baseball player in the United States.He had a career record of 26 wins and 8 losses at the school.As a member of Team USA in 1987, he became the first American pitcher in 25 years to beat a Cuban team on Cuban soil. The team won a silver medal at the Pan-American Games and Abbott won the U. S. Baseball Federation's Golden Spikes award as the best amateur player in the country. Abbott participated in the 1988 Summer Olympic Games, pitching a complete game seven hitter, leading the United States to the Gold Medal in a 5-3 victory over Japan. The United States first ever, gold medal in Olympic Baseball competition.He then joined the California Angels following the Olympics. Jim made his pro debut in spring training and made it to the Major Leagues without playing in the minor leagues, which was the beginning of a tremendous Major League career. His most famous highpoint is perhaps throwing a no-hitter for the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium in 1993.His baseball achievements include the Sullivan Award (best amateur athlete in the United States), male athlete of the year for the 1988 Olympic Games, and many awards at Michigan including the Jesse Owens Athlete of the year.But the awards that best define Jim Abbott would be those that exemplify courage and overcoming adversity. March of Dimes Athlete of the Year (twice) Academy Awards of Sports, Courage Award 1991 Victory Award recipient at the Kennedy Center Washington D.C. Freedom Forum's Free Spirit Award Today Jim Abbott is a professional motivational speaker. He has been featured in USA Today, Newsweek, Time, Sports Illustrated, Parade Magazine, People, and Baseball America. He has been featured during Olympic coverage, and has appeared on ESPN, Good Morning America, CNN, Larry King, Phil Donahue, George Michael Sports Machine, NBC Nightly News, ABC News Person of the Week, Late Night with David Letterman, and the ABC television series Boy Meets World.Jim Abbott was invited to throw out the first pitch at game 7 of the 2002 World Series and recently participated in his first Yankees Old Timers Day.As a philanthropist, Jim Abbott donated 100,000 dollars to Amigos de los Ninos, an organization that aids groups that care for children in California.He is an inspiration to all that meet him or have followed his career. More than his no-hitter, his 13 strike out game, a seven game winning streak, overcoming an eleven game losing streak, Jim Abbott became a great baseball player and a great person. He learned to overcome adversity and be an inspiration to those around him.On A Personal NoteJim lives in California with his wife, two children and their dog. His parents still live in Michigan. Jim and his family take the Summer off each year to stay at the lake, and visit with family and friends. Jim has a younger brother.