No longer will I wish...
No longer will I want...
from now on...
- © 2010 I WILL FOUNDATION
- Website by Fruition NYC
The I WILL FOUNDATION is a non-profit organization established to help people, with the will to work hard, overcome adversity and challenges caused by life altering illness or traumatic injury. Our primary goal is to provide motivational and inspirational support
through hands on training, coaching, and financial support when necessary. We believe the will to survive and accomplish all tasks, great and small, is present in all of us whether we recognize it or not. If you have the desire to live your life to the fullest, we can help you.
Matt Long, a New York City firefighter, Author of “The Long Run”,
established I WILL FOUNDATION. Matt was struck by a bus and
critically injured on the streets of Manhattan while riding his bike to
work in the winter of 2005. He received 68 units of blood in the first
40 hours following the accident and spent 5 months in the hospital.
He had 40 surgeries in less than two years and has been in physical therapy since. Matt survived this horrific accident due to his high level of fitness and determination as an active runner and Ironman triathlete, both of which helped him in his recovery. It is this perseverance that he wants to share with others who may think things seem impossible.
Matt attributes his turning point to when he stopped listing what he wanted to do and started listing what he WILL do. His outlook post-accident changed and his comeback began.
Teamwork is the key to success and the I WILL Foundation has compiled a team of individuals to support your I WILL journey. This network of motivating and inspirational athletes will provide nutritional, coaching and training services. The team is also comprised of individuals that have overcome a major challenge or are
in the process of progressing down the I WILL path and have the ability to give first hand advice on what it takes to meet your goals. The I WILL team allows for a community to train, share insights, explore fears and have fun while living life to the fullest!
I WILL AMBASSADORS will help people to achieve their goals.
They are seasoned professionals in coaching, physical therapy, nutrition and training.
Tara Norton is a professional triathlete and multi-sport coach from Toronto, Canada. Focused on long-course and Ironman races, Tara began her pro triathlon career in 2004. A 21-time Ironman finisher, Tara has competed at the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii six times with a best 12th place overall finish in a time of 9:41 in 2007. Tara broke the Ironman Lanzarote bike course record in 2010, has an Ironman personal best time of 9:32 and has over 25 top-10 finishes in long course races as a professional triathlete.
As Head Coach at Absolute Endurance Training and Therapy and coordinator for Epic Woman Camp, Tara delivers top-notch coaching programs tailor made to suit athletes’ individual needs by combining
her motivational abilities and her years of racing and training experience with sound science. Tara rallied back from two terrible cycling accidents in May of 2005 and October of 2008 (in which she broke a total of 20 bones, including a fracture of her C7 neck vertebra) and has continued on her Ironman quest.
As an Ambassador to the I WILL FOUNDATION, Tara is honored to help others realize that anything is possible when you have the will and set your mind to achieve it.
A USAT Certified Level 1 triathlon coach, Anthony coaches for the Asphalt Green Triathlon Club. Anthony developed a passion for the multi-sport of triathlon in 1997. He has completed 23 Ironman triathlons including the Hawaii Ironman World Championship ‘00-‘04, ’06; has raced all twelve Ironman USA Lake Placid and has an Ironman PR of 9hrs:43min at IM California in 2001. Anthony raced for Team USA in the 2002 Long Course World Championship in Nice, France and has achieved “All American Honors” USA Triathlon National Amateur Age Group Ranking multiple times.
Anthony has raced several marathons, setting a PR of 2hrs:50min in the 100th Anniversary of the Boston Marathon in 1995. Anthony
created IRON YOGA in August 2002 and his book and video “IRON YOGA – Combine Yoga and Strength Training for Weight Loss and Total Body Fitness” (Rodale) were released in June ’05. He is certified as a Sports Yoga Instructor through NESTA (National Endurance Sports Trainers Association).
Anthony is honored and privileged to be an I WILL Ambassador and looks forward to coaching athletes that have the WILL to achieve their goals and dreams.
For more information on Anthony’s IRON YOGA program, visit www.ironyogabook.com.
Tara’s athletic career stretches back to her childhood when she played competitively in high school (fast pitch softball, basketball, volleyball) and college (basketball). In 2001, Tara decided to take on the challenge of the NYC marathon and was instantly hooked on endurance sports. She has completed a total of 8 marathons including Chicago, Miami, Boston and NYC (5 times). In the midst of marathon training and racing, Tara was introduced to the sport of triathlon and completed her first race in 2003 – an Olympic distance race in the Hamptons – and instantly realized this was her passion.
After running Boston in 2006 and setting a PR, Tara decided it was time to take a break from marathons and step up to the next big challenge: the Ironman. Four months later, she completed Ironman
Canada. Since then she has completed 5 more Ironman races including Lake Placid (2007, 2008, 2009), Hawaii (2007) and Cozumel (2010). Long course racing aside, Tara’s true passion and success has come in medium and short course racing with numerous podium and overall finishes.
Tara is a USAT Level 1 certified coach and coaches athletes in the NYC area. Now a part time coach for QT2 Systems, her main goal as a coach is to share her knowledge and experience with athletes to help them reach full potential.
For twenty years, Dr. Pamela E. Wilson has been helping people restore their bodies to optimal function through the use of Manual Medicine. Having studied and learned numerous “state of the art” techniques from experts around the world, Dr. Wilson meets each patient’s needs on an individual basis.
Dr. Wilson has been in private practice since 1990. In 2002, she founded the Wilson Center in Red Bank, NJ. Specializing in Physical Medicine and Performance Training, this facility focuses on returning the injured patient to their optimal quality of life. Rehabilitation plans for patients who have structural injuries, such as herniated discs and strain/sprain injuries, are developed to manage the patient’s pain, well as restore function so the patient can return to their highest
quality of life possible. The Wilson Center utilizes modern techniques such as coherent light cold laser to optimize healing. In 2006, Dr. Wilson studied with Dr. Jeff Spenser who treated Lance Armstrong and the US Postal and Discovery Pro Cycling teams as they won 7 consecutive Tour de France victories. Currently, Dr. Wilson is focusing her studies in Reflex Locomotion, an advanced manual medicine technique. This progressive neurologically based technique is on the cutting edge of treating human movement. She has also added the clinical art of Kinesiotaping to her patient care.
Kyle Herrig is a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC) and the founder and owner of Triplex Training. The functional training business was set up to help individuals maximize their fitness potential through integrated, functional, and prescriptive exercise. By incorporating tri-plane exercise movements, Triplex Training expects to improve flexibility and muscular strength, while bridging the gap between personal training and physical therapy. Kyle is also a USAT Certified Level 1 triathlon coach and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), offering coaching services, training programs, and even run gait analysis to improve efficiency. While being a health care professional for various athletes and individuals, Kyle has the unique background to assist individuals in maintaining optimal health while continuing to strengthen and improve their fitness levels.
Kyle knows first-hand the importance of functional strength when competing in endurance events. Not only has Kyle competed in Ironman events and marathons, but also several Sprint, Olympic and Half-Ironman triathlons, endurance mountain bike and road races, along with various running events such as 5K’s, 10K’s and Half Marathons. As part of the local triathlon and running community, he understands the importance of strength, efficiency, and injury prevention. Kyle has a desire to change peoples’ lives through fitness and is proud to serve as an I Will Ambassador.
For more information, visit www.triplextraining.com, and Triplex Training on Facebook and Twitter.
Moira first started running in 1993 after quitting smoking. She has since run more than 20 marathons, including NYC, Boston and New Jersey with a marathon PR of 3:50 as a masters runner and has qualified and run the Boston Marathon 4 times. A competitive swimmer since early elementary school, she stopped swimming after high school and did not pick it up again for over 25 years.
After a running injury in early 1995, she began swimming again, and then cycling as a means of staying fit. That is when Moira’s passion for triathlon began. Building upon various distances, in November of 2001 she completed her first Ironman. Since then, Moira has completed 9 Ironman races including Ironman Florida, Lake Placid and Kona. She has an Ironman PR of 11:26 in 2006 at age 50, and
has been on the podium at most of these races. She has also been All American Honorable Mention by USA Triathlon. Over the last several years, Moira has focused more on sharing her experiences as an athlete. She is a USA Triathlon Level 1 coach, coaching at camps in Florida and New York with groups of various age and experience and she is also co-founder of the Jersey Girl Triathlon in 2010, a sold out, all-women’s triathlon at the Jersey Shore. Moira’s goal as a triathlete and coach is to encourage and support everyday people to adopt a healthy life style and help them realize they can accomplish the goals they set for themselves when they have the will! She has raised funds for I Will Foundation and NYC Fire Department-related charities and is happy to work with fellow athletes who would like to find ways to fundraise for the I Will Foundation.
Nicknamed “The Mechanics” by USA Today, Jim and Phil Wharton are internationally known trainers, therapists, and authors who established their practice in 1989 and changed the face of human performance. They have worked with luminaries in the sports world from professional football players to Olympic gold medal winners. This famous father and son team can be found in their clinics in New York City, Mexico City, and Flagstaff, Arizona, on campuses and in sports venues all over the world, at the podiums of seminars and workshops, in fitness centers all over New York, on Broadway stages, and in the spotlight of the press.
Jim and Phil Wharton have authored four books on fitness: The Whartons’ Stretch Book, The Whartons’ Strength Book, The Whartons’
Cardio-Fitness Book, and The Whartons’ Back Book. Their first book Stretch has sold nearly half a million copies.
They have presented in national conferences for the American College of Sports Medicine, Hospital for Special Surgery and the World Fitness Expo in Barcelona. They and their courses are accredited through the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Council on Exercise. Jim and Phil offer Wharton Flexibility Certification training for flexibility therapists.
For more information on Jim and Phil Wharton and their clinics, visit www.whartonperformance.com.
Vicky Tiase is committed to inspire lifestyle changes in people through the sport of triathlon. She is a certified coach by both USA Triathlon and USA Cycling.
As a nationally ranked Ironman triathlete with an extensive background in marathoning, Vicky knows what it takes to have the “will” to succeed. She has compete in 10 ironman races, including the Ironman World Championships in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii in ’02.’04, ’07, ’08 with a PR of 11 hours at Ironman USA in Lake Placid. Vicky has also achieved “All American Honors” from the USA Triathlon National Amateur Age Group Ranking ’02-’07. She also represented the US as a member of Team USA at the 2008 Olympic World Championships in Vancouver, Canada.
With her training as a nurse, Vicky knows the importance that nutrition and exercise play in achieving and maintaining good health. She is a 1995 graduate of the University of Virginia and a 2006 graduate of Columbia University.
Vicky is active in many local organizations including Asphalt Green Triathlon Club, New York Flyers Running Team and the New York Road Runner. She has a passion for fostering and maintaining a healthy lifestyle which is the focus of both her personal and professional life.
For more information on an active healthy lifestyle, visit www.trihealthcoaching.com.
As a physical therapist and certified ASTYM rehabilitation specialist practicing in Tempe, AZ, Mark specializes in sport rehabilitation with in-depth knowledge and comprehension of human movement, pathology, and orthopedic dysfunction. Along with Mark’s area of expertise is in running related dysfunction, his biomechanical approach to assessing each person’s individual circumstances and formulating a treatment strategy has proved invaluable. He has successfully managed care for high school, college, and professional athletes of all sports.
Mark is passionate about human movement and enjoys sharing his knowledge and expertise with his community by lecturing to local walking, running, and triathlon organizations on injury prevention and
management. In his spare time, Mark also enjoys participating in the sports of triathlon and endurance mountain biking.
Mark is honored and privileged to be an I Will Ambassador and is dedicated to helping individuals see that they can achieve the goals that they set for themselves.
Featured below is Mark and I Will founder, Matt Long, running his first post-accident mile, with the continued support of Mark by his side.
For more information on the services that Mark provides, visit www.functionalperformance.com.
I WILL EXEMPLIFIERS are those individuals who, faced with challenges caused by life altering injuries
or illnesses, persevere and exemplify strength of will! I WILL FOUNDATION has supported
them on their journey and facilitated the means to help them achieve their goals.
In 1992, Hector Picard almost lost his life in an accident while on the job as an electrician. After four weeks in a coma, he learned he suffered 13,000 volts through his body that resulted in the complete amputation of his right arm and half his left, as well as 2nd and 3rd degree burns over 40% of his body. At the age of 24, he had to start a new life - a life as a bi-lateral amputee.
With the strong support system of family, friends and competition, Hector’s desire to live a full life was not suppressed. From July 2009 through November 2010, he will have competed in over 30 triathlon events including 2 Half Iron, 5 Olympic, 2 International, 2 Classic and 19 Sprint distances taking place throughout the state of Florida and Freeport, Bahama. He is the recipient of the 2010 Paul Mitchell Spirit award for Para-triathlete of the Year in the USA.
In 2011, Hector will be competing throughout the USA in 5 Ironman 70.3's (Half Ironman distances) and with the goal of competing on October 8, 2011 at the Ironman Championships in Hawaii. The goal in competing in these events is to bring awareness to the physically challenged and show their capabilities. Hector wants everyone to know, that no adversity is too great when you embrace life through hard work and positive thinking, you will overcome anything.
With the help of Matt Long and the I WILL Foundation, Hector's dreams for 2011 will become a reality. The I WILL Foundation has made it possible for him, through bike modifications, to compete on a level playing field.
For more information on Hector, visit www.dontstopliving.org.
Race day, October 25, 2009, was a beautiful day in Tempe, Arizona. John Sellinger - a seasoned runner, cyclist and triathlete, had been preparing for this race all summer with a focus on competing for a top position in his Age Group. His training had been flawless, he felt strong, rested and was excited to get the race underway.
John had a good swim which placed him where he wanted to be among his competition coming out of the water. Like many triathletes, swimming was not his strongest leg of any triathlon, but he was headed out on the bike and he was ready to take control of his race. About 40 miles into the 56 mile bike leg the day was over. A driver, headed the same direction as the race course, turned across vehicle traffic, through several sets of cones, onto the closed bike course sticking the front end of the vehicle directly in John’s path. Going 25+mph in his aero-bars, John didn’t stand a chance, in fact he didn’t even have time to hit the brakes before impacting the car, ending John’s day and opening a new chapter in both his life and the lives of his wife and children.
John’s injuries spanned all the way from his neck to his knees. Both knees had impacted his bike as the force of the impact ejected John from his saddle leaving a gaping wound in his right knee deep enough to expose the bone and tissue of the knee. John’s right femur had also exploded out the back side of his pelvis upon impact and left his right leg dislocated and his pelvis in pieces.
John spent the following 6 days in the hospital during which time his knee and pelvis were repaired. Doctors were surprised by the extent of the damage to John’s pelvis and were forced open a large 21” incision to locate all the shattered pieces of bone. In the end, two
plates and 10 screws were placed in and around the pelvis to hold the pieces in place.
John returned home to a devastated but extremely supportive family and group of friends from the local community and the local triathlon community. He spent most of the next three months either in bed or working with Physical Therapists to begin a long road toward recovery.
John is still working to recover from his injuries.
A NOTE FROM JOHN
Two weeks after being released from the hospital Matt Long came to visit me in my home. I was in that dark place athletes go when they find themselves struggling to overcome severe trauma. Matt stood in my living room and told me his story, showed me his scars, told me about his recovery and then told me “you can beat this thing”. He brought Kyle Herrig, who had worked with Matt for several months during his recovery, with him that day and told me that I was going to be spending some quality time with Kyle, “so I hope you like him, because you are going to be seeing a lot of him”. When Matt and Kyle left that afternoon I remember telling my wife, “that is one tough guy, I want to get involved with the I WILL Foundation and I want to beat this thing”. Matt and the I WILL Foundation took me from downtrodden, beaten athlete and turned me into a determined recovering “athlete” in a single afternoon. Will I ever compete at the level I was at on October 25, 2009? I have accepted that I am no longer the athlete I was before that day but I have set goals, big and small and will accomplish them with the support of my family, friends and the I WILL Foundation.
On September 21st, 2008, John Gleeson was completing a 120 mile training bike ride in preparation for Ironman Florida. It would have been his third Ironman. John was hit by a car, suffering severe trauma including broken ankle, hip, pelvis, femur, eight ribs, clavicle, scapula, C2 fracture to his neck, a punctured lung and had to have his spleen removed. A titanium rod was put in his left leg to repair the broken femur, and 9 screws and 2 plates to repair his hip. After the hip surgery, John suffered a pulmonary embolism and was put on heparin (blood thinner). Preparing for another hip surgery, doctors needed to take him off the blood thinner. About 5 minutes before surgery, John suffered a stroke.
The doctors said it was due to bilateral disections of the carotid arteries because of the C2 fracture. They performed surgery to put 3 stents in each carotid artery and saved John's life. He was in the hospital and rehab for 3 1/2 months. When the accident happened, John's daughter was 18 months old and his wife was 5 months pregnant with their son, born in February 2009.
The past years have been continuous rehab and doctor appointments. Due to his injuries and the stroke, each day is a struggle physically as John can't use his left hand and doesn't have dorsi flexion in his left foot. Nonetheless, John has returned to work full-time, commuting to the city to his job in the financial services industry.
A NOTE FROM JOHN
My family has helped me tremendously to get through this ordeal, and what Matt Long and the I Will Foundation has done for me has been truly amazing.
First of all, Matt came to visit me in the hospital which was a big boost psychologically. Matt and the Foundation bought me a brand new spin bike for me to use in my garage to help with my recovery. Once a week for 6 months, he sent me to therapist Pam Wilson who worked on many things including cold laser therapy for my scar tissue. The Foundation also sent my wife and I to California last spring to spend a week with a therapist who specializes in working with stroke patients and has an aggressive approach. But more than all of this, Matt has been an inspiration to me. He is the ultimate warrior and his never quit attitude has helped me each day with my recovery.
I will never be what I was physically, so I am still figuring out what my future holds. Matt and the Foundation are helping me to see that I am in control of my future no matter what obstacles lie ahead. (I will just do them at a slower pace, LOL!!) Matt's book, which I read in a day, has really been therapeutic for me, to kind of take a step back, and see what I went through as well as my family. I feel lucky to have Matt and the I Will Foundation as a part of my Life.
Having grown up a swimmer, Karin started her triathlon career in 2004 and quickly realized she loved it. She became pretty good at Olympic Distance, and in 2006 took home a gold in the NYC Triathlon in the Elite Amateur Division, a Gold in the Escape from Alcatraz in her age group and a Bronze in the Swedish National Championships.
In February 2009, Karin was training for her first Ironman in Lake Placid, and was to join her friend Matt Long on the I WILL Team.
But life had other plans for Karin. On Sunday, February 8th, 2009, she set out for a 75 mile bike ride. Half way through, she got a throbbing headache which would not give in, even after a nap and some motrin. Karin called a friend and as she was hanging up the phone, her fingers started twitching and then her whole right side went numb. She went to say something, but all that came out of her mouth was gooblediguck, after which she promptly fell down to the floor and had a seizure.
An athlete, completely healthy and only 34 years old, Karin was the unlikely victim of a stroke.
Impossible to predict, Karin suffered a Carotid Dissection that in turn caused a clot to form and dislodge and knock out her speech center. Lucky to get the right help quickly, a stent was placed to repair her Carotid Artery in the neck and with aggressive speech therapy, Karin learned how to speak again in both English and her native Swedish. Being a person of action, it was easier for her to attack her speech therapy with determination, energy and hope than it was to deal with the uncertainty of her athletic future. But after a few months of going stir crazy, her incredible doctor decided to work with her to get her back to an active life again even if it meant that she only did 15 minute runs, had to swim with a snorkel and stick mostly to the bike trainer while she kept a close eye on her artery.
At the end of the summer, Karin got her doctor's go ahead for Ironman Lake Placid 2010. The training this time proved to be harder both mentally and physically, but moving from NYC to Boulder in the fall and starting work with Coach Tara Norton in the spring helped Karin stay on track. On July 26th, 2010, dressed proudly in her I WILL FOUNDATION kit, Karin Linner became stroke survivor and Ironman.
Support the I WILL FOUNDATION and be a part of helping those that have the WILL to overcome challenges and better their lives, but do not necessarily have the means. Make a donation or purchase IWF apparel. IWF is a 501/c/3 Corporation and all donations are tax deductible.MAKE A DONATION PURCHASE IWF APPAREL
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