Life Rolls On, in association with Brooks Rehabilitation Center, will be hitting JAX beach this Sat. June 2, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., giving the paralyzed of Jacksonville the opportunity to gather with peers, friends and family and overcome the struggles of paralysis to get back out catching waves.
Brooks Rehabilitation is the main local sponsor and host for the event in Jacksonville. The event will have dozens of adaptive sport participants from the First Coast area that will be learning to surf, and the event is expecting hundreds of supporters from the JAX community as well.
Here is the link to the They Will Surf Event: Life Rolls On – JAX
Life Rolls On is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for young people affected by spinal cord injury that utilizes action sports as a platform to demonstrate the infinite possibilities beyond paralysis. The organization tours around the US giving people with spinal injuries the opportunity to look past paralysis by enjoying various paraplegic and quadriplegic friendly sports such as surfing.
Jesse Billauer, founder of Life Rolls On and former professional surfer, sustained a spinal cord injury while surfing in 1996 that resulted in quadriplegia. Billauer, now faced with the struggle of being paralyzed, wanted to find a way he could get back in the water and continue experiencing his love for surfing.
In 2003, the movie “Step Into Liquid” premiered, with Billauer’s story being a main topic in the film, and brought the fight against paralysis via surfing to the forefront of media attention in the surf community. Not too long before the movie, Billauer teamed up with “They Will Surf Again” (TWSA), a foundation aimed in introducing adaptive surfing for the paralysis community, and together formed Life Rolls On (LRO), non-profit group in 2002. Co-chaired and directed by professional surfers, Kelly Slater and Rob Machado, the surfing events received international attention, which then extended worldwide.
After establishing a campaign to help people with paralysis surf again, Billauer went all over the country giving lectures and conferences explaining the vision and goals of They Will Surf Again and Life Rolls On. Since then, they have been at the forefront of surf charities and have been touring the world for many years giving people with paralysis problems the information and opportunity to stand against their conditions and surf.
From what started as a single event to conquer the goals of one guy, to an award-winning program with event sites in nine cities across seven states helping hundreds find conquer their dreams of getting back in the water, TWSA continues to expand, launching new adaptive skate and snowboarding programs as well.
Here’s a video of Jesse and pro-surfer friends having a session in Hawaii to give you a feel of what goes on at these events.