Editor’s Note: This article is courtesy of our GOEL partner, SPORTS ‘N SPOKES magazine. See the original story here.
It’s the announcement you’ve all been waiting for since June! Today is the day that we announce the winners of the 2014 Get Out, Enjoy Life Photo Contest, held in conjunction with LASCI, Wheel:Life, and SPORTS ‘N SPOKES magazine.
Getting out and enjoying life was always a way of life for our 2014 GOEL first-place photo contest winner.
Regina “Reggie” Cake had a life many people only dream about. She had a husband who consistently made her smile, had the perfect job and almost always spent long weekends exploring new destinations on her Harley-Davidson.
“We traveled every chance we got, exploring the frontiers of Alaska to dude ranches in Montana,” says Cake. “We never slowed down and didn’t know the meaning of quiet weekend – That was not our style.”
But, in 2007, doctors discovered a small tumor growing on her cervical spinal cord. The mass was filling with fluid and causing radiating pain and residual loss of mobility in her arms that required immediate attention. Cake consulted with neurosurgeons and was quickly scheduled for spinal surgery to remove the mass.
“He [doctor] cut in the wrong place,” says Cake. “He placed a tube that was supposed to isolate the fluid from the tumor from entering my spinal-cord in the wrong place. To make a long, and painful story short, I was now paralyzed on my lower left side from the waist down.
As with many newly injured, Cake experienced the “pity parties” over the life she felt was now gone. Little did she know that while she was recovering, her husband Cliff Cake, was busy working on ways for them to continue to get out and enjoy life.
Mr. Cake worked diligently to build an accessible Harley-Davidson trike that would adapt to Cake’s needs and was safe to drive. He constructed a wheelchair rack, designed and relocated the foot shifter to the right side and constructed supports for her back and arms to help with stability.
“When I get on that awesome pink trike, built out of so much love, and the wind is in my face, I’m thankful to be alive,” says Cake. “I’m no longer in a wheelchair when I ride. I am not disabled when I ride. I am free of all limitations.”
Cake gets plenty of attention when she tools down the road, and rightly so. It’s not everyday that you see a pink Harley-Davidson with a pink wheelchair strapped to the back being driven by a lady in a pink helmet.
“When people hang out their car windows to take pictures and give me the thumbs up, I hope they see someone who has not given up on life despite my challenges,” says Cake. “Life in a wheelchair is not always easy, but it is not the end either.”
Today, Cake works regularly with the nonprofit A Spoonful of Sugar to help empower others through life’s challenges. She is a shining example of the “when life gives you lemons,” adage and advises people with and without disabilities to find their passion and never set limits on yourself or your abilities.
Cake’s winning photo was taken by her husband during a bike run through the Redwood National and State Park – one of their many journeys together.
For her first-place victory, Cake’s photo will land the cover of the 2014 September issue of SPORTS `N SPOKES. She will also receive a new wheelchair courtesy of our friends at Mike Box Wheelchairs and receive our 2014 GOEL Prize Pack consisting of a gnarly MV-1 back pack filled with gifts from all our GOEL 2014 participating sponsors.
Second and third-place winners
Second-Place: Eleven-year-old Cade Maynor’s favorite summer-time activity is swimming. But it was his rock-climbing photo that earned him a second-place win during the 2014 GOEL photo contest.
The Georgia resident recently enjoyed a day of climbing at Cherokee Rock Village in San Rock, Ala., reaching elevations of more than 40 feet. “I was getting out and enjoying life,” says Maynor. “It was a great experience learning how to climb the rocks without using your legs. The view was amazing … you could see over Lake Weiss.”
For his second-place victory, Maynor’s photo will appear in the Final Frame of the 2014 September issue of SPORTS `N SPOKES. He will also receive a one-year complimentary subscription to S`NS and a new pair of Morph Wheels courtesy of our friends at Maddak, Inc., as well as our 2014 GOEL Prize Pack consisting of a gnarly MV-1 back pack filled with gifts from all our GOEL 2014 participating sponsors.
Third-Place: For Jason McCue, getting out and enjoying life is second nature. The 38-year-old Canadian enjoys outdoor activities ranging from camping to wheelchair rugby, but his passion is surfing.
McCue’s journey has taken him to Australia, Mexico and parts of California in search of the perfect wave. His third-place winning photo was captured off the coast of Mexico in Punta Mita.
“A swell had been in for few days and growing,” says McCue. “I‘d been telling the boys I wanted to catch bigger waves. I convinced Tzahui Vazquez, (the guy beside me) and Cesar De La Rosa Flippen (the guy in the back), to join me but had to wait for them to close up their surf shop for the day.
So, sunset surfing it was. I remember thinking how big the waves were. I had butterflies in my stomach. The waves were 8 to 10 feet high. My photo was us waiting for a wave, and was super stoked to have caught 3 good ones that day.”
For his third-place victory, McCue’s photo will appear on the S`NS website’s Spokes of the Week. He will also receive a $200 gift certificate courtesy of At Home Medical, a complimentary copy of the September 2014 issue of S`NS as well as our 2014 GOEL Prize Pack consisting of a gnarly MV-1 back pack filled with gifts from all our GOEL 2014 participating sponsors.
Thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s photo contest! Stay tuned for more special events from Wheel:Life and our community partners.
About the Get Out, Enjoy Life Event
SPORTS ‘N SPOKES, the sports and recreation magazine of the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), has teamed up with UroMed’s nonprofit program Life After Spinal Cord Injury (LASCI) and the online community, Wheel:Life, to encourage people with disabilities to “Get Out & Enjoy Life This Summer”.
Now in its’ fourth year, the 2014 GOEL event kicked off on June 2, 2014, with a photo contest and prize giveaways for participants. The SPORTS ‘N SPOKES, Wheel:Life and LASCI social media pages featured a daily listing of accessible vacation spots, outdoors programs, and other events.
This year’s GOEL theme was all about running free, using the slogan of ROAM, and the program spotlighted activities like adaptive sports, accessible amusement parks, inclusive vacation spots and other unique outings.
View the full program details at: http://pvamag.com/
About SPORTS ‘N SPOKES magazine
SPORTS ‘N SPOKES is a bimonthly publication produced by the Paralyzed Veterans of America. S’NS reports on competitive sports and recreation for wheelchair users. Since 1975, S’NS has been a leader in wheelchair sports coverage and currently goes to more than 50,000 subscribers in 43 countries worldwide. Our readers come from all walks of life, all having one thing in common: determination!
About Life After Spinal Cord Injury
Bert Burns became quadriplegic as a result of an automobile accident during his youth. His desire to make a positive difference in the lives of people with disabilities led him to create a free motivational program for peer support and rehabilitation groups called Life After Spinal Cord Injury. LASCI is sponsored by UroMed, one of the largest urological supply companies in the country. Join more than 31,000 friends in our online support community at http://www.facebook.com/
Wheel:Life is a global initiative that assists people in addressing the many questions and challenges that come with using a wheelchair. Wheel:Life resources help people find quality health and medical resources, and related research and news, as well as networking within peer support groups and enjoying a full and active life as a wheelchair user. Visit us at www.www.wheel-life.org.