My road in life has been direct.
As a young man, his plan was always to work in construction.
But after an accident in high school left him paralyzed from the waist down, he struggled to figure out what his next career path would be.
He’d always enjoyed water sports and activities, and even after his accident, he often stayed active by going fishing with friends.
One day, one of his friends spotted a paraplegic man using a special paddleboard to catch waves in a local harbor.
Within hours, Shad was on the scene, cruising around the harbor for the first time in years on the wheelchair-accessible paddleboard.
After feeling the joy of being back out on the water, he knew he’d found his new purpose; he wanted to enable other disabled people to experience that same joy.
He founded Pushing 4 Independence, a nonprofit that gets disabled people back out on the water with the aid of custom-built paddleboards and surfboards.
Says that finding a community of people similar to him helped him finally face his disability head-on.